Date of Award

Summer 8-9-2021

Thesis Access

Open Access Honors Thesis

Degree Name

B.S.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Joy Alcedo

Abstract

In the light of recent events, it is imperative to understand the key inflammatory response elements that appear to be the source of more severe ailments resulting from a SARS-CoV-2 viral infection known as Covid-19 The more severe cases of Covid-19 are characterized by a severe inflammatory response resulting in tissue damage. My research proposal aims to investigate the two possible culprits of this response: a bradykinin (BK) storm and an interleukin-6 (IL-6) mediated cytokine storm. In both systems respectively, the excess release of these signals subsequently signals the production of even more of the same response element, resulting in a vicious positive feedback loop known as a storm. I hypothesize based on SARS-CoV-2’s direct interference with the renin-angiotensin pathway, that it is the bradykinin storm responsible for the more severe complications of Covid-19, as opposed to a cytokine storm. My first aim is determining the nature of the storm that induces the severe responses of Covid-19; I will test how Actemra, a cytokine IL-6 inhibitor, and icatibant, a bradykinin inhibitor, prevent such responses in a Covid-19 mouse model. My second aim is determining if a BK storm leads to a cytokine storm, or the opposite, if both systems play a role in the observed inflammatory response using genetic manipulation. A further understanding of how bradykinins and cytokines function together to create the inflammatory responses observed as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection and other diseases is absolutely critical in developing effective treatments for these diseases.

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