Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(15):5827-5848. doi:10.7150/ijbs.77561 This issue
Institute for Translational Medicine, The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, College of Medicine, Qingdao University, 38 Dengzhou Road, Qingdao 266021, China.
The rapid dissemination of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), remains a global public health emergency. The host immune response to SARS-CoV-2 plays a key role in COVID-19 pathogenesis. SARS-CoV-2 can induce aberrant and excessive immune responses, leading to cytokine storm syndrome, autoimmunity, lymphopenia, neutrophilia and dysfunction of monocytes and macrophages. Pyroptosis, a proinflammatory form of programmed cell death, acts as a host defense mechanism against infections. Pyroptosis deprives the replicative niche of SARS-CoV-2 by inducing the lysis of infected cells and exposing the virus to extracellular immune attack. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 has evolved sophisticated mechanisms to hijack this cell death mode for its own survival, propagation and shedding. SARS-CoV-2-encoded viral products act to modulate various key components in the pyroptosis pathways, including inflammasomes, caspases and gasdermins. SARS-CoV-2-induced pyroptosis contriubtes to the development of COVID-19-associated immunopathologies through leakage of intracellular contents, disruption of immune system homeostasis or exacerbation of inflammation. Therefore, pyroptosis has emerged as an important mechanism involved in COVID-19 immunopathogenesis. However, the entangled links between pyroptosis and SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis lack systematic clarification. In this review, we briefly summarize the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19-related immunopathologies. Moreover, we present an overview of the interplay between SARS-CoV-2 infection and pyroptosis and highlight recent research advances in the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the implication of the pyroptosis pathways in COVID-19 pathogenesis, which will provide informative inspirations and new directions for further investigation and clinical practice. Finally, we discuss the potential value of pyroptosis as a therapeutic target in COVID-19. An in-depth discussion of the underlying mechanisms of COVID-19 pathogenesis will be conducive to the identification of potential therapeutic targets and the exploration of effective treatment measures aimed at conquering SARS-CoV-2-induced COVID-19.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, cytokine storm, pyroptosis, inflammasomes, immunopathogenesis, therapeutic targets