Is nicotine exposure linked to cardiopulmonary vulnerability to COVID-19 in the general population?

FEBS J. 2020 Sep;287(17):3651-3655. doi: 10.1111/febs.15303. Epub 2020 Mar 28.

Abstract

The recent emergence of COVID-19 has resulted in a worldwide crisis, with large populations locked down and transportation links severed. While approximately 80% of infected individuals have minimal symptoms, around 15-20% need to be hospitalized, greatly stressing global healthcare systems. As of March 10, the death rate appears to be about 3.4%, although this number is highly stratified among different populations. Here, we focus on those individuals who have been exposed to nicotine prior to their exposure to the virus. We predict that these individuals are 'primed' to be at higher risk because nicotine can directly impact the putative receptor for the virus (ACE2) and lead to deleterious signaling in lung epithelial cells.

Keywords: addiction; infectious Disease; pandemic; public Health; tobacco.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / genetics*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / metabolism
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / genetics
  • COVID-19 / physiopathology
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / drug effects
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Male
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Pandemics*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Signal Transduction
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / genetics
  • Smoking / physiopathology
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / genetics*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / metabolism
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism

Substances

  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • Nicotine
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2