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Article

SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Human Ovarian Cells: A Potential Negative Impact on Female Fertility

1
Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
2
Department of Medical Biotechnologies, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
3
Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Ana Sofia Coroadinha and Richard J.P. Brown
Cells 2022, 11(9), 1431; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11091431
Received: 14 March 2022 / Revised: 12 April 2022 / Accepted: 20 April 2022 / Published: 23 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cells as Viral Hosts)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may affect female reproductive health. Here, we investigated the potential of SARS-CoV-2 to infect the follicular microenvironment, in particular granulosa (GCs) and cumulus cells (CCs), thus providing evidence for a productive infection. GCs and CCs were recovered from women (n = 25) who underwent in vitro fertilization at the Assisted Reproductive Unit, Siena University Hospital. Follicular ovarian cells were co-cultured with SARS-CoV-2 and then analyzed by qPCR, immunofluorescence (IF), western blot (WB) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In addition, cell culture supernatant was used to infect VERO6 cells. We demonstrated the expression of cell host factors ACE2, TRPMSS2, BSG and CTSL, which are pivotal for the virus life cycle. Cultured GCs and CCs incubated with SARS-CoV-2 revealed productive SARS-CoV-2 infection at 24 h, 48 h and 72 h post-adsorption. Indeed, SARS-CoV-2 RNA, spike and nucleocapsid proteins were detected in GCs and CCs, and their cell culture supernatant successfully infected the standard VERO E6 cells. Finally, TEM showed full-size virions attached to the membrane and located inside the cytoplasm. This in vitro study reveals the susceptibility of human ovarian cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection, suggesting a potential detrimental effect of COVID-19 infection on female human fertility. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; granulosa cells; cumulus cells; female fertility SARS-CoV-2; granulosa cells; cumulus cells; female fertility
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MDPI and ACS Style

Luongo, F.P.; Dragoni, F.; Boccuto, A.; Paccagnini, E.; Gentile, M.; Canosi, T.; Morgante, G.; Luddi, A.; Zazzi, M.; Vicenti, I.; Piomboni, P. SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Human Ovarian Cells: A Potential Negative Impact on Female Fertility. Cells 2022, 11, 1431. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11091431

AMA Style

Luongo FP, Dragoni F, Boccuto A, Paccagnini E, Gentile M, Canosi T, Morgante G, Luddi A, Zazzi M, Vicenti I, Piomboni P. SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Human Ovarian Cells: A Potential Negative Impact on Female Fertility. Cells. 2022; 11(9):1431. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11091431

Chicago/Turabian Style

Luongo, Francesca P., Filippo Dragoni, Adele Boccuto, Eugenio Paccagnini, Mariangela Gentile, Tamara Canosi, Giuseppe Morgante, Alice Luddi, Maurizio Zazzi, Ilaria Vicenti, and Paola Piomboni. 2022. "SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Human Ovarian Cells: A Potential Negative Impact on Female Fertility" Cells 11, no. 9: 1431. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11091431

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