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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329471

ABSTRACT

The immune system of most SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals limits viral spread to the upper airways without pulmonary involvement. This prevents the development of pneumonic COVID-19. However, the protective immunological responses causative of successful viral containment in the upper airways remain unclear. Here, we combine longitudinal single-cell RNA sequencing, proteomic profiling, multidimensional flow cytometry, RNA-Seq of FACS-sorted leukocyte subsets and multiplex plasma interferon profiling to uncover temporally resolved protective immune signatures in non-pneumonic and ambulatory SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. We compare host responses in a high-risk patient population infected with SARS-CoV-2 but without pulmonary involvement to patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Our data reveal a distinct immunological signature of successful viral containment, characterized by an early prominent interferon stimulated gene (ISG) upregulation across immune cell subsets. In addition, reduced cytotoxic potential of Natural Killer (NK) and T cells, as well as a monocyte phenotype with immune-modulatory potential are hallmarks of protective immunity. Temporal resolution across disease trajectories highlights ISG upregulation as particularly prominent early in the disease and confirms increased expression also in comparison to healthy controls. We validate this distinct temporal ISG signature by in-depth RNA-seq of FACS-sorted leukocyte subsets in a large prospective ambulatory SARS-CoV-2 infected cohort confirming early and robust ISG upregulation particularly in monocytes and T cells. In conclusion, our data demonstrate a protective ISG phenotype in patients with successful containment of SARS-CoV-2 infection without progression to COVID-19. This early protective interferon response might be exploited as a therapeutic approach and for disease course prediction.

2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1018, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702467

ABSTRACT

The antiviral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection can limit viral spread and prevent development of pneumonic COVID-19. However, the protective immunological response associated with successful viral containment in the upper airways remains unclear. Here, we combine a multi-omics approach with longitudinal sampling to reveal temporally resolved protective immune signatures in non-pneumonic and ambulatory SARS-CoV-2 infected patients and associate specific immune trajectories with upper airway viral containment. We see a distinct systemic rather than local immune state associated with viral containment, characterized by interferon stimulated gene (ISG) upregulation across circulating immune cell subsets in non-pneumonic SARS-CoV2 infection. We report reduced cytotoxic potential of Natural Killer (NK) and T cells, and an immune-modulatory monocyte phenotype associated with protective immunity in COVID-19. Together, we show protective immune trajectories in SARS-CoV2 infection, which have important implications for patient prognosis and the development of immunomodulatory therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Ambulatory Care , Cytokines/blood , Female , Gene Expression Regulation , Gene Regulatory Networks , Humans , Interferons/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Monocytes/immunology , Nasopharynx/immunology , Nasopharynx/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
3.
JCI Insight ; 6(18)2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435144

ABSTRACT

Neutrophils provide a critical line of defense in immune responses to various pathogens, inflicting self-damage upon transition to a hyperactivated, procoagulant state. Recent work has highlighted proinflammatory neutrophil phenotypes contributing to lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we use state-of-the art mass spectrometry-based proteomics and transcriptomic and correlative analyses as well as functional in vitro and in vivo studies to dissect how neutrophils contribute to the progression to severe COVID-19. We identify a reinforcing loop of both systemic and neutrophil intrinsic IL-8 (CXCL8/IL-8) dysregulation, which initiates and perpetuates neutrophil-driven immunopathology. This positive feedback loop of systemic and neutrophil autocrine IL-8 production leads to an activated, prothrombotic neutrophil phenotype characterized by degranulation and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation. In severe COVID-19, neutrophils directly initiate the coagulation and complement cascade, highlighting a link to the immunothrombotic state observed in these patients. Targeting the IL-8-CXCR-1/-2 axis interferes with this vicious cycle and attenuates neutrophil activation, degranulation, NETosis, and IL-8 release. Finally, we show that blocking IL-8-like signaling reduces severe acute respiratory distress syndrome of coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein-induced, human ACE2-dependent pulmonary microthrombosis in mice. In summary, our data provide comprehensive insights into the activation mechanisms of neutrophils in COVID-19 and uncover a self-sustaining neutrophil-IL-8 axis as a promising therapeutic target in severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Interleukin-8/metabolism , Lung/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/etiology , Animals , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/pathology , Humans , Lung/pathology , Mice , Neutrophil Activation , Neutrophils/pathology , Phenotype , Thrombosis/pathology
4.
J Thromb Haemost ; 19(2): 574-581, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939789

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can lead to severe pneumonia, but also thrombotic complications and non-pulmonary organ failure. Recent studies suggest intravascular neutrophil activation and subsequent immune cell-triggered immunothrombosis as a central pathomechanism linking the heterogenous clinical picture of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We sought to study whether immunothrombosis is a pathognomonic factor in COVID-19 or a general feature of (viral) pneumonia, as well as to better understand its upstream regulation. APPROACH AND RESULTS: By comparing histopathological specimens of SARS-CoV-2 with influenza-affected lungs, we show that vascular neutrophil recruitment, NETosis, and subsequent immunothrombosis are typical features of severe COVID-19, but less prominent in influenza pneumonia. Activated neutrophils were typically found in physical association with monocytes. To explore this further, we combined clinical data of COVID-19 cases with comprehensive immune cell phenotyping and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid scRNA-seq data. We show that a HLADRlow CD9low monocyte population expands in severe COVID-19, which releases neutrophil chemokines in the lungs, and might in turn explain neutrophil expansion and pulmonary recruitment in the late stages of severe COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: Our data underline an innate immune cell axis causing vascular inflammation and immunothrombosis in severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate , Influenza, Human/immunology , Lung/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , Thrombosis/immunology , Vasculitis/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Diagnosis, Differential , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Influenza, Human/diagnosis , Influenza, Human/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Neutrophils/virology , Predictive Value of Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Thrombosis/virology , Vasculitis/virology
5.
Circulation ; 142(12): 1176-1189, 2020 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696368

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 infection causes severe pneumonia (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]), but the mechanisms of subsequent respiratory failure and complicating renal and myocardial involvement are poorly understood. In addition, a systemic prothrombotic phenotype has been reported in patients with COVID-19. METHODS: A total of 62 subjects were included in our study (n=38 patients with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction-confirmed COVID-19 and n=24 non-COVID-19 controls). We performed histopathologic assessment of autopsy cases, surface marker-based phenotyping of neutrophils and platelets, and functional assays for platelet, neutrophil functions, and coagulation tests, as well. RESULTS: We provide evidence that organ involvement and prothrombotic features in COVID-19 are linked by immunothrombosis. We show that, in COVID-19, inflammatory microvascular thrombi are present in the lung, kidney, and heart, containing neutrophil extracellular traps associated with platelets and fibrin. Patients with COVID-19 also present with neutrophil-platelet aggregates and a distinct neutrophil and platelet activation pattern in blood, which changes with disease severity. Whereas cases of intermediate severity show an exhausted platelet and hyporeactive neutrophil phenotype, patients severely affected with COVID-19 are characterized by excessive platelet and neutrophil activation in comparison with healthy controls and non-COVID-19 pneumonia. Dysregulated immunothrombosis in severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 pneumonia is linked to both acute respiratory distress syndrome and systemic hypercoagulability. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our data point to immunothrombotic dysregulation as a key marker of disease severity in COVID-19. Further work is necessary to determine the role of immunothrombosis in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Respiratory Insufficiency/etiology , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Blood Coagulation Disorders/diagnosis , Blood Coagulation Disorders/etiology , Blood Platelets/cytology , Blood Platelets/metabolism , Blood Platelets/pathology , COVID-19 , Case-Control Studies , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Humans , Kidney/pathology , Lung/pathology , Neutrophils/cytology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Neutrophils/pathology , Pandemics , Phenotype , Platelet Activation , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory Insufficiency/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Thrombosis/complications , Thrombosis/diagnosis
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