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Soluble neuropilin-1 response to hypoglycemia in type 2 diabetes: increased risk or protection in SARS-CoV-2 infection?

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Version 2 2022-07-21, 14:57
Version 1 2022-02-10, 16:46
journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-10, 16:46 authored by Abu Saleh Md Moin, Ahmed Al-Qaissi, Thozhukat Sathyapalan, Stephen L Atkin, Alexandra E Butler

Introduction: Neuropilin-1(NRP1) is a cofactor that enhances SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus cell infectivity when co-expressed with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2(ACE2). The Renin-Angiotensin System (RAS) is activated in type 2 diabetes (T2D); therefore, the aim of this study was to determine if hypoglycaemia-induced stress in T2D would potentiate serum NRP1(sNRP1) levels, reflecting an increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Methods: A case-control study of aged-matched T2D (n = 23) and control (n = 23) subjects who underwent a hyperinsulinemic clamp over 1-hour to hypoglycemia(<40mg/dl) with subsequent timecourse of 4-hours and 24-hours. Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer (SOMA)-scan plasma protein measurement determined RAS-related proteins: renin (REN), angiotensinogen (AGT), ACE2, soluble NRP1(sNRP1), NRP1 ligands (Vascular endothelial growth factor, VEGF and Class 3 Semaphorins, SEM3A) and NRP1 proteolytic enzyme (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase 9, ADAM9).

Results: Baseline RAS overactivity was present with REN elevated and AGT decreased in T2D (p<0.05); ACE2 was unchanged. Baseline sNRP1, VEGF and ADAM9 did not differ between T2D and controls and remained unchanged in response to hypoglycaemia. However, 4-hours post-hypoglycemia, sNRP1, VEGF and ADAM9 were elevated in T2D(p<0.05). SEMA3A was not different at baseline; at hypoglycemia, SEMA3A decreased in controls only. Post-hypoglycemia, SEMA3A levels were higher in T2D versus controls. sNRP1 did not correlate with ACE2, REN or AGT. T2D subjects stratified according to ACE inhibitor (ACEi) therapies showed no difference in sNRP1 levels at either glucose normalization or hypoglycaemia.

Conclusion: Hypoglycemia potentiated both plasma sNRP1 level elevation and its ligands VEGF and SEMA3A, likely through an ADAM9-mediated mechanism that was not associated with RAS overactivity or ACEi therapy; however, whether this is protective or promotes increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection in T2D is unclear.

Clinical trial registration:, identifier NCT03102801.



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Published Citation

Moin ASM, Al-Qaissi A, Sathyapalan T, Atkin SL, Butler AE. Soluble neuropilin-1 response to hypoglycemia in type 2 diabetes: increased risk or protection in SARS-CoV-2 infection? Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021;12:665134

Publication Date

23 June 2021

PubMed ID



  • RCSI Bahrain


Frontiers Research Foundation


  • Published Version (Version of Record)