The Impact of SARS-Cov-2 Virus Infection on the Endocrine System

J Endocr Soc. 2020 Jul 2;4(8):bvaa082. doi: 10.1210/jendso/bvaa082. eCollection 2020 Aug 1.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus has spread across the globe rapidly causing an unprecedented pandemic. Because of the novelty of the disease, the possible impact on the endocrine system is not clear. To compile a mini-review describing possible endocrine consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection, we performed a literature survey using the key words Covid-19, Coronavirus, SARS CoV-1, SARS Cov-2, Endocrine, and related terms in medical databases including PubMed, Google Scholar, and MedARXiv from the year 2000. Additional references were identified through manual screening of bibliographies and via citations in the selected articles. The literature review is current until April 28, 2020. In light of the literature, we discuss SARS-CoV-2 and explore the endocrine consequences based on the experience with structurally-similar SARS-CoV-1. Studies from the SARS -CoV-1 epidemic have reported variable changes in the endocrine organs. SARS-CoV-2 attaches to the ACE2 system in the pancreas causing perturbation of insulin production resulting in hyperglycemic emergencies. In patients with preexisting endocrine disorders who develop COVID-19, several factors warrant management decisions. Hydrocortisone dose adjustments are required in patients with adrenal insufficiency. Identification and management of critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency is crucial. Patients with Cushing syndrome may have poorer outcomes because of the associated immunodeficiency and coagulopathy. Vitamin D deficiency appears to be associated with increased susceptibility or severity to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and replacement may improve outcomes. Robust strategies required for the optimal management of endocrinopathies in COVID-19 are discussed extensively in this mini-review.

Keywords: COVID-19; Endocrine; SARS-CoV2.

Publication types

  • Review