ACE2 polymorphisms impact COVID-19 severity in obese patients
Hachim, Mahmood Yaseen
Al Heialy, Saba
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Abstract: A strong association between obesity and COVID-19 complications and a lack of prognostic factors that explain the unpredictable severity among these patients still exist despite the various vaccination programs. The expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the main receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is enhanced in obese individuals. The occurrence of frequent genetic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ACE2 is suggested to increase COVID-19 severity. Accordingly, we hypothesize that obesity-associated ACE2 polymorphisms increase the severity of COVID-19. In this study, we profiled eight frequently reported ACE2 SNPs in a cohort of lean and obese COVID-19 patients (n = 82). We highlight the significant association of rs2285666, rs2048683, rs879922, and rs4240157 with increased severity in obese COVID-19 patients as compared to lean counterparts. These co-morbid-associated SNPs tend to positively correlate, hence proposing possible functional cooperation to ACE2 regulation. In obese COVID-19 patients, rs2285666, rs879922, and rs4240157 are significantly associated with increased blood nitrogen urea and creatinine levels. In conclusion, we highlight the contribution of ACE2 SNPs in enhancing COVID-19 severity in obese individuals. The results from this study provide a basis for further investigations required to shed light on the underlying mechanisms of COVID-19 associated SNPs in COVID-19 obese patients.