A single-cell mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 induced pyroptosis and the effects of anti-inflammatory intervention

Sara Jasmin Hamis*, Fiona Ruth Macfarlane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Pyroptosis is an inflammatory mode of cell death that can contribute to the cytokine storm associated with severe cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome is central to pyroptosis, which may be induced by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Inflammasome formation, and by extension pyroptosis, may be inhibited by certain anti-inflammatory drugs. In this study, we present a single-cell mathematical model that captures the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, pyroptotic cell death and responses to anti-inflammatory intervention that hinder the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. The model is formulated in terms of a system of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) that describe the dynamics of the key biological components involved in pyroptosis. Our results demonstrate that an anti-inflammatory drug can delay the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, and thus may alter the mode of cell death from inflammatory (pyroptosis) to non-inflammatory (e.g., apoptosis). The single-cell model is implemented within a SARS-CoV-2 tissue simulator, in collaboration with a multidisciplinary coalition investigating within host-dynamics of COVID-19. In this paper, we additionally provide an overview of the SARS-CoV-2 tissue simulator and highlight the effects of pyroptosis on a cellular level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6050-6086
Number of pages37
JournalAIMS Mathematics
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Pyroptosis
  • COVID-19
  • NLRP3 inflammasome
  • Cytokine storm
  • Mathematical modelling

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