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Skeletal Muscle and Peripheral Nerve Histopathology in COVID-19

Citation

Suh, Joome et al. (2021), Skeletal Muscle and Peripheral Nerve Histopathology in COVID-19, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.wwpzgmsjj

Abstract

To explore the spectrum of skeletal muscle and nerve pathology of patients who died following SARS-CoV-2 infection and assess for direct viral invasion of these tissues. Psoas muscle and femoral nerve were sampled from 35 consecutive autopsies of patients who died following SARS-CoV-2 infection and 10 SARS-CoV-2-negative controls were examined under light microscopy. Clinical and laboratory data were obtained by chart review.  In SARS-CoV-2-positive patients, mean age at death was 67.8 years (range 43-90 years) and the duration of symptom onset to death ranged from 1-49 days. Four patients had neuromuscular symptoms. Peak creatine kinase was elevated in 74% (mean 959 U/L, range 29-8413 U/L). Muscle showed type 2 atrophy in 32 patients, necrotizing myopathy in 9, and myositis in 7. Neuritis was seen in 9. Major histocompatibility complex-1 (MHC-1) expression was observed in all cases of necrotizing myopathy and myositis and 8 additional patients. Abnormal expression of myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA) was present on capillaries in muscle in 9 patients and in nerve in 7. SARS-CoV-2 immunohistochemistry was negative in muscle and nerve in all patients. In the 10 controls, muscle showed type 2 atrophy in all patients, necrotic muscle fibers in 1, MHC-1 expression in non-necrotic/non-regenerating fibers in 3, MxA expression on capillaries in 2, and inflammatory cells in none, and nerves showed no inflammatory cells or MxA expression. Muscle and nerve tissue demonstrated inflammatory/immune-mediated damage likely related to release of cytokines. There was no evidence of direct SARS-CoV-2 invasion of these tissues.

Methods

Clinical and laboratory data collected from electronic medical records.