Is COVID-19 associated thrombosis caused by overactivation of the complement cascade? A literature review.
Thromb Res. 2020 Jun 18;194:36-41
Authors: Fletcher-Sandersjöö A, Bellander BM
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic resulting in an escalating number of cases and fatalities worldwide. Preliminary evidence from these patients, as well as past coronavirus epidemics, indicates that those infected suffer from disproportionate complement activation as well as excessive coagulation, leading to thrombotic complications and poor outcome. In non-coronavirus cohorts, evidence has accumulated of an interaction between the complement and coagulation systems, with one amplifying activation of the other. A pressing question is therefore if COVID-19 associated thrombosis could be caused by overactivation of the complement cascade? In this review, we summarize the literature on thrombotic complications in COVID-19, complement activation in coronavirus infections, and the crosstalk between the complement and coagulation systems. We demonstrate how the complement system is able to activate the coagulation cascade and platelets, inhibit fibrinolysis and stimulate endothelial cells. We also describe how these interactions see clinical relevance in several disorders where overactive complement results in a prothrombotic clinical presentation, and how it could be clinically relevant in COVID-19.
PMID: 32569879 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]