Diet-Induced Obesity and NASH Impair Disease Recovery in SARS-CoV-2-Infected Golden Hamsters - Inserm - Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale Access content directly
Journal Articles Viruses Year : 2022

Diet-Induced Obesity and NASH Impair Disease Recovery in SARS-CoV-2-Infected Golden Hamsters

François Briand
  • Function : Author
Audrey Chabrat
Thierry Sulpice
  • Function : Author

Abstract

Obese patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are prone to severe forms of COVID-19. There is an urgent need for new treatments that lower the severity of COVID-19 in this vulnerable population. To better replicate the human context, we set up a diet-induced model of obesity associated with dyslipidemia and NASH in the golden hamster (known to be a relevant preclinical model of COVID-19). A 20-week, free-choice diet induces obesity, dyslipidemia, and NASH (liver inflammation and fibrosis) in golden hamsters. Obese NASH hamsters have higher blood and pulmonary levels of inflammatory cytokines. In the early stages of a SARS-CoV-2 infection, the lung viral load and inflammation levels were similar in lean hamsters and obese NASH hamsters. However, obese NASH hamsters showed worse recovery (i.e., less resolution of lung inflammation 10 days post-infection (dpi) and lower body weight recovery on dpi 25). Obese NASH hamsters also exhibited higher levels of pulmonary fibrosis on dpi 25. Unlike lean animals, obese NASH hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2 presented long-lasting dyslipidemia and systemic inflammation. Relative to lean controls, obese NASH hamsters had lower serum levels of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 activity and higher serum levels of angiotensin II—a component known to favor inflammation and fibrosis. Even though the SARS-CoV-2 infection resulted in early weight loss and incomplete body weight recovery, obese NASH hamsters showed sustained liver steatosis, inflammation, hepatocyte ballooning, and marked liver fibrosis on dpi 25. We conclude that diet-induced obesity and NASH impair disease recovery in SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters. This model might be of value for characterizing the pathophysiologic mechanisms of COVID-19 and evaluating the efficacy of treatments for the severe forms of COVID-19 observed in obese patients with NASH.
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Dates and versions

inserm-03818686 , version 1 (18-10-2022)

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François Briand, Valentin Sencio, Cyril Robil, Séverine Heumel, Lucie Deruyter, et al.. Diet-Induced Obesity and NASH Impair Disease Recovery in SARS-CoV-2-Infected Golden Hamsters. Viruses, 2022, 14 (9), pp.2067. ⟨10.3390/v14092067⟩. ⟨inserm-03818686⟩
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