Catania, 15 February 2021– Nicotine is a protective shield against the insurgence of severe symptoms of COVID-19. This is what emerged with the new study by CoEHAR and the University of Catania: “The Role of cigarette smoke on ACE-2 protein-membrane expression in bronchial epithelial cells using an air-liquid interface model”.
CoEHAR’s research focused on the likely modulatory effect of smoking on ACE-2 protein expression, which has proved to serve as a likely receptor for the virus to enter into epithelial cells.
CoEHAR was a pioneer in focusing primarily on the process involving the role of the ACE-2 receptor in SARS-CoV-2 infection and as a critical step for the virus to enter the human body. The study underlined the different antiviral responses during the infection between smokers and non-smokers who had ACE-2 high expression levels.
“Cigarette smoking may act on the bronchial epithelium selectively, not by blocking a response on the viral infection by activating other genes that trigger different transcriptomic collateral mechanisms” – said Giovanni Li Volti, author of the study and Director of the CoEHAR.
Data may offer a pharmaceutical role of nicotine as a potential treatment option in COVID-19. Hence, the result of this study may provide new insights into the role of ACE-2 in the complex pathophysiology of cardiovascular and lung diseases in smokers.
“Being shortlisted by SRNT for this study means acknowledging the role of the CoEHAR in the international scientific research” – prof. Li Volti added speaking of CoEHAR’s award by The Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco (SRNT) for the 2021 edition.
Title. The Role of cigarette smoke on ACE-2 protein-membrane expression in bronchial epithelial cells using an air-liquid interface model.
Authors. Massimo Caruso, Alfio Distefano, Rosalia Emma, Michelino di Rosa, Giuseppe Carota, Sonja Rust, Riccardo Polosa, Pietro Zuccarello, Margherita Ferrante, Giuseppina Raciti, Giovanni Li Volti.