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JA PĂ©rez-Bermejo, S Kang, SJ Rockwood, CR Simoneau, DA Joy, GN Ramadoss, AC Silva, WR Flanigan, H Li, K Nakamura, JD Whitman, M Ott, BR Conklin and TC McDevitt
Abstract
Although COVID-19 causes cardiac dysfunction in up to 25% of patients, its pathogenesis remains unclear. Exposure of human iPSC-derived heart cells to SARS-CoV-2 revealed productive infection and robust transcriptomic and morphological signatures of damage, particularly in cardiomyocytes. Transcriptomic disruption of structural proteins corroborated adverse morphologic features, which included a distinct pattern of myofibrillar fragmentation and numerous iPSC-cardiomyocytes lacking nuclear DNA. Human autopsy specimens from COVID-19 patients displayed similar sarcomeric disruption, as well as cardiomyocytes without DNA staining. These striking cytopathic features provide new insights into SARS-CoV-2 induced cardiac damage, offer a platform for discovery of potential therapeutics, and raise serious concerns about the long-term consequences of COVID-19.
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