Background and aims: The presence of gastrointestinal symptoms and high levels of viral RNA in the stool suggest active severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replication within enterocytes.
Methods: Here, in multiple, large cohorts of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), we have studied the intersections between Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), intestinal inflammation, and IBD treatment.
Results: A striking expression of ACE2 on the small bowel enterocyte brush border supports intestinal infectivity by SARS-CoV-2. Commonly used IBD medications, both biologic and nonbiologic, do not significantly impact ACE2 and TMPRSS2 receptor expression in the uninflamed intestines. In addition, we have defined molecular responses to COVID-19 infection that are also enriched in IBD, pointing to shared molecular networks between COVID-19 and IBD.
Conclusions: These data generate a novel appreciation of the confluence of COVID-19- and IBD-associated inflammation and provide mechanistic insights supporting further investigation of specific IBD drugs in the treatment of COVID-19. Preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.21.109124.
Keywords: COVID-19; GI Tract; IBD Medications; Network Analyses.
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