Chiara Gardin 1,2, Letizia Ferroni 1,2, Juan Carlos Chachques 3 and Barbara Zavan 1,2,*
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a pandemic viral disease originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2). The severe form of the disease is often associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and most critically ill patients require mechanical ventilation and support in intensive care units. A significant portion of COVID-19 patients also develop complications of the cardiovascular system, primarily acute myocardial injury, arrhythmia, or heart failure. To date, no specific antiviral therapy is available for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Exosomes derived from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are being explored for the management of a number of diseases that currently have limited or no therapeutic options, thanks to their anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and pro-angiogenic properties. Here, we briefly introduce the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and its implications in the heart and lungs. Next, we describe some of the most significant clinical evidence of the successful use of MSC-derived exosomes in animal models of lung and heart injuries, which might strengthen our hypothesis in terms of their utility for also treating critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Keywords: coronavirus; COVID-19; angiotensin-converting enzyme 2; mesenchymal stem cellderived exosomes; acute lung injury; acute myocardial injury; immunomodulation; anti-inflammation