Usually, pandemic COVID-19 disease, caused by SARS-CoV2, presents with mild respiratory symptoms such as fever HP fever MESHD
, cough HP
but frequently also with anosmia HP anosmia MESHD
and neurological symptom. Virus-cell fusion is mediated by Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) and Transmembrane Serine Protease 2 (TMPRSS2) with their organ expression pattern determining viral tropism. Clinical presentation suggests rapid viral dissemination to central nervous system leading frequently to severe symptoms including viral meningitis MESHD meningitis HP
. Here, we provide a comprehensive expression landscape of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 proteins across human, post-mortem nasal and olfactory tissue. Sagittal sections through the human nose complemented with immunolabelling of respective cell types represent different anatomically defined regions including olfactory epithelium, respiratory epithelium of the nasal conchae and the paranasal sinuses along with the hardly accessible human olfactory bulb. ACE2 can be detected in the olfactory epithelium, as well as in the respiratory epithelium of the nasal septum, the nasal conchae and the paranasal sinuses. ACE2 is located in the sustentacular cells and in the glandular cells in the olfactory epithelium, as well as in the basal cells, glandular cells and epithelial cells of the respiratory epithelium. Intriguingly, ACE2 is not expressed in mature or immature olfactory receptor neurons and basal cells in the olfactory epithelium. Similarly ACE2 is not localized in the olfactory receptor neurons albeit the olfactory bulb is positive. Vice versa, TMPRSS2 can also be detected in the sustentacular cells and the glandular cells of the olfactory epithelium.
Our findings provide the basic anatomical evidence for the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the human nose, olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb. Thus, they are substantial for future studies that aim to elucidate the symptom of SARS-CoV2 induced anosmia HP
of via the olfactory pathway.