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Papers of the Week

2022 Aug 25

JGH Open

Symptomatology and microbiology of the gastrointestinal tract in post-COVID conditions.



Post-COVID conditions, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), refer to the persistence of symptoms in COVID-19 long-haulers. Various manifestations of post-COVID conditions are general symptoms and/or manifestations of damage in multiple organs. Besides, SARS-CoV-2 can involve the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in sequelae such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, constipation, abdominal distension, acid reflux, and/or gastrointestinal bleeding. Previous investigations point to SARS-CoV-2 entry into enterocytes enhances by the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors. Interestingly, ACE2 receptors are abundantly expressed in the gut, implying infection with SARS-CoV-2 might occur through this route as well as in the respiratory tract. According to mounting evidence, SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been identified in fecal specimens of patients with COVID-19 during and beyond the acute phase. In addition, studies have shown gut microbiome composition is altered in patients with PASC, hence, another putative mechanism linked to gastrointestinal symptoms is gut dysbiosis. The presence of the gut-lung axis in COVID-19 might have major implications for disease pathogenesis and treatment. This review discussed the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms and pathophysiology underlying possible infection of the gut in patients with PASC. Also, SARS-COV-2 induced NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent inflammatory pathways are briefly addressed.