Publication date: Jul 06, 2023
COVID-19 is an RNA virus that attacks the targeting organs, which express angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2), such as the lungs, heart, renal system, and gastrointestinal tract. The virus that enters the cell by endocytosis triggers ROS production within the confines of endosomes via a NOX-2 containing NADPH-oxidase. Various isoforms of NADPH oxidase are expressed in airways and alveolar epithelial cells, endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells, and inflammatory cells, such as alveolar macrophages, monocytes, neutrophils, and T-lymphocytes. The key NOX isoform expressed in macrophages and neutrophils is the NOX-2 oxidase, whereas, in airways and alveolar epithelial cells, it appears to be NOX-1 and NOX-2. The respiratory RNA viruses induce NOX-2-mediated ROS production in the endosomes of alveolar macrophages. The mitochondrial and NADPH oxidase (NOX) generated ROS can enhance TGF-β signaling to promote fibrosis of the lungs. The endothelium-derived ROS and platelet-derived ROS, due to activation of the NADPH-oxidase enzyme, play a crucial role in platelet activation. It has been observed that NOX-2 is generally activated in COVID-19 patients. The post-COVID complications like pulmonary fibrosis and platelet aggregation may be due to the activation of NOX-2. NOX-2 inhibitors may be a useful drug candidate to prevent COVID-19 complications like pulmonary fibrosis and platelet aggregation.