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The effect of SARS coronavirus on blood system: its clinical findings and the pathophysiologic hypothesis



The effect of SARS coronavirus on blood system: its clinical findings and the pathophysiologic hypothesis



Zhongguo Shi Yan Xue Ye Xue Za Zhi 11(3): 217-221



Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has recently recognized as a new human infectious disease. A novel coronavirus was identified as the causative agent of SARS. This report summarizes the hematological findings in SARS patients and proposes a hypothesis for the pathophysiology of SARS coronavirus related abnormal hematopoiesis. Hematological changes in patients with SARS were common and included lymphopenia (68% - 90% of adults; 100% of children, n = 10), thrombocytopenia (20% - 45% of adults, 50% of children), and leukopenia (20% - 34% of adults, 70% of children). The possible mechanisms of this coronavirus on blood system may include (1) directly infect blood cells and bone marrow stromal cells via CD13 or CD66a; and/or (2) induce auto-antibodies and immune complexes to damage these cells. In addition, lung damage in SARS patients may also play a role on inducing thrombocytopenia by (1) increasing the consumption of platelets/megakaryocytes; and/or (2) reducing the production of platelets in the lungs. Since the most common hematological changes in SARS patients were lymphopenia and immunodeficiency. We postulate that hematopoietic growth factors such as G-CSF, by mobilizing endogenous blood stem cells and endogenous cytokines, could become a hematological treatment for SARS patients, which may enhance the immune system against these virus.

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PMID: 12844398


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