SARS-CoV-2 spike protein causes cardiovascular disease independent of viral infection

Clin Sci (Lond). 2022 Mar 31;136(6):431-434. doi: 10.1042/CS20220028.


The SARS-CoV-2 virus that results in COVID-19 has been found to damage multiple organs beyond the lung. Interestingly, the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein can be found circulating in the blood of COVID-19 patients. Experimental findings are demonstrating that the circulating S protein can bind to receptors resulting in inflammation and cell, tissue, and organ damage. Avolio et al. previously determined that the S protein acting through the cluster of differentiation 147 (CD147) receptor, and another unknown mechanism had detrimental effects on human cardiac pericytes (Clin Sci (Lond) (2021) 135 (24): 2667-2689. DOI: 10.1042/CS20210735). These findings support the notion that circulating SARS-CoV-2 S protein could contribute to cardiovascular disease independent of viral infection. Future studies are needed to determine the effect of the S protein on pericytes in other organs and evaluate the effectiveness of CD147 receptor-blocking therapies to decrease organ damage caused by the S protein.

Keywords: CD147 Receptor; COVID-19; Pericytes; cardiovascular disease; virus spike protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • Virus Diseases*


  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2