Diesel exhaust particles (DEP) are the major components of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) and chronic exposure is recognized to enhance respiratory system complications. Although the spread of SARS-CoV-2 was found to be associated with the PMs, the mechanism by which exposure to DEP increases the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is still under discussion. However, diesel fine PM (dPMs) elevate the probability of SARS-CoV-2 infection, as it coincides with the increase in the number of ACE2 receptors. Expression of ACE2 and its colocalized activator, transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) facilitate the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the alveolar epithelial cells exposed to dPM. Thus, the coexistence of PM and SARS-CoV-2 in the environment augments inflammation and exacerbates lung damage. Increased TGF-β1 expression due to DEP accompanies the proliferation of the extracellular matrix. In this case, “multifocal ground-glass opacity” (GGO) in a CT scan is an indication of a cytokine storm and severe pneumonia in COVID-19.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.