Oxidative Stress Status in COVID-19 Patients Hospitalized in Intensive Care Unit for Severe Pneumonia. A Pilot Study

Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Feb 7;10(2):257. doi: 10.3390/antiox10020257.


Background: A key role of oxidative stress has been highlighted in the pathogenesis of COVID-19. However, little has been said about oxidative stress status (OSS) of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in intensive care unit (ICU).

Material and methods: Biomarkers of the systemic OSS included antioxidants (9 assays), trace elements (3 assays), inflammation markers (4 assays) and oxidative damage to lipids (3 assays).

Results: Blood samples were drawn after 9 (7-11) and 41 (39-43) days of ICU stay, respectively in 3 and 6 patients. Vitamin C, thiol proteins, reduced glutathione, γ-tocopherol, β-carotene and PAOT® score were significantly decreased compared to laboratory reference values. Selenium concentration was at the limit of the lower reference value. By contrast, the copper/zinc ratio (as a source of oxidative stress) was higher than reference values in 55% of patients while copper was significantly correlated with lipid peroxides (r = 0.95, p < 0.001). Inflammatory biomarkers (C-reactive protein and myeloperoxidase) were significantly increased when compared to normals.

Conclusions: The systemic OSS was strongly altered in critically ill COVID-19 patients as evidenced by increased lipid peroxidation but also by deficits in some antioxidants (vitamin C, glutathione, thiol proteins) and trace elements (selenium).

Keywords: COVID-19; critical care; lipid peroxides; oxidative stress; vitamin C.