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1.
Virchows Arch ; 479(1): 97-108, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1574264

ABSTRACT

Between April and June 2020, i.e., during the first wave of pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), 55 patients underwent long-term treatment in the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Regensburg. Most of them were transferred from smaller hospitals, often due to the need for an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation system. Autopsy was performed in 8/17 COVID-19-proven patients after long-term treatment (mean: 33.6 days). Autopsy revealed that the typical pathological changes occurring during the early stages of the disease (e.g., thrombosis, endothelitis, capillaritis) are less prevalent at this stage, while severe diffuse alveolar damage and especially coinfection with different fungal species were the most conspicuous finding. In addition, signs of macrophage activation syndrome was detected in 7 of 8 patients. Thus, fungal infections were a leading cause of death in our cohort of severely ill patients and may alter clinical management of patients, particularly in long-term periods of treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/microbiology , Coinfection , Lung Diseases, Fungal/microbiology , Lung/microbiology , Multiple Organ Failure/microbiology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/therapy , Cause of Death , Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Lung Diseases, Fungal/mortality , Lung Diseases, Fungal/pathology , Macrophage Activation Syndrome/microbiology , Macrophage Activation Syndrome/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Multiple Organ Failure/mortality , Multiple Organ Failure/pathology , Multiple Organ Failure/virology , Risk Factors , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome
2.
J Clin Invest ; 131(22)2021 11 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518200

ABSTRACT

Metabolic pathways regulate immune responses and disrupted metabolism leads to immune dysfunction and disease. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is driven by imbalanced immune responses, yet the role of immunometabolism in COVID-19 pathogenesis remains unclear. By investigating 87 patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, 6 critically ill non-COVID-19 patients, and 47 uninfected controls, we found an immunometabolic dysregulation in patients with progressed COVID-19. Specifically, T cells, monocytes, and granulocytes exhibited increased mitochondrial mass, yet only T cells accumulated intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), were metabolically quiescent, and showed a disrupted mitochondrial architecture. During recovery, T cell ROS decreased to match the uninfected controls. Transcriptionally, T cells from severe/critical COVID-19 patients showed an induction of ROS-responsive genes as well as genes related to mitochondrial function and the basigin network. Basigin (CD147) ligands cyclophilin A and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein triggered ROS production in T cells in vitro. In line with this, only PCR-positive patients showed increased ROS levels. Dexamethasone treatment resulted in a downregulation of ROS in vitro and T cells from dexamethasone-treated patients exhibited low ROS and basigin levels. This was reflected by changes in the transcriptional landscape. Our findings provide evidence of an immunometabolic dysregulation in COVID-19 that can be mitigated by dexamethasone treatment.


Subject(s)
Basigin/physiology , COVID-19/immunology , Dexamethasone/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Adult , COVID-19/metabolism , Cyclophilin A/physiology , Fatty Acids/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mitochondria/pathology , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism
3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 740260, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506482

ABSTRACT

Increased left ventricular fibrosis has been reported in patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is unclear whether this fibrosis is a consequence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or a risk factor for severe disease progression. We observed increased fibrosis in the left ventricular myocardium of deceased COVID-19 patients, compared with matched controls. We also detected increased mRNA levels of soluble interleukin-1 receptor-like 1 (sIL1-RL1) and transforming growth factor ß1 (TGF-ß1) in the left ventricular myocardium of deceased COVID-19 patients. Biochemical analysis of blood sampled from patients admitted to the emergency department (ED) with COVID-19 revealed highly elevated levels of TGF-ß1 mRNA in these patients compared to controls. Left ventricular strain measured by echocardiography as a marker of pre-existing cardiac fibrosis correlated strongly with blood TGF-ß1 mRNA levels and predicted disease severity in COVID-19 patients. In the left ventricular myocardium and lungs of COVID-19 patients, we found increased neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) RNA levels, which correlated strongly with the prevalence of pulmonary SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid. Cardiac and pulmonary fibrosis may therefore predispose these patients to increased cellular viral entry in the lung, which may explain the worse clinical outcome observed in our cohort. Our study demonstrates that patients at risk of clinical deterioration can be identified early by echocardiographic strain analysis and quantification of blood TGF-ß1 mRNA performed at the time of first medical contact.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/physiopathology , Heart Ventricles/pathology , Myocardium/pathology , Pulmonary Fibrosis/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Fibrosis , Heart Ventricles/metabolism , Humans , Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein/genetics , Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Myocardium/metabolism , Neuropilin-1/genetics , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Pulmonary Fibrosis/immunology , Risk , Severity of Illness Index , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/genetics , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/metabolism , Viral Load
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3006, 2021 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238000

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can lead to pneumonia and hyperinflammation. Here we show a sensitive method to measure polyclonal T cell activation by downstream effects on responder cells like basophils, plasmacytoid dendritic cells, monocytes and neutrophils in whole blood. We report a clear T cell hyporeactivity in hospitalized COVID-19 patients that is pronounced in ventilated patients, associated with prolonged virus persistence and reversible with clinical recovery. COVID-19-induced T cell hyporeactivity is T cell extrinsic and caused by plasma components, independent of occasional immunosuppressive medication of the patients. Monocytes respond stronger in males than females and IL-2 partially restores T cell activation. Downstream markers of T cell hyporeactivity are also visible in fresh blood samples of ventilated patients. Based on our data we developed a score to predict fatal outcomes and identify patients that may benefit from strategies to overcome T cell hyporeactivity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Inflammation/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , Pneumonia/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Aged , Basophils/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Monocytes/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Young Adult
6.
Int J Infect Dis ; 103: 624-627, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065181

ABSTRACT

A 21-year-old woman was hospitalized due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-associated respiratory and hepatic impairment concomitant with severe hemolytic anemia. Upon diagnosis of secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, immunosuppression with anakinra and steroids was started, leading to a hepatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and viremia. Subsequent liver biopsy revealed virus particles in hepatocytes by electron microscopy and SARS-CoV-2 virus could be isolated and cultured. Immunosuppression was stopped and convalescent donor plasma given. In the differential diagnosis, an acute crisis of Wilson's disease was raised by laboratory and genetic testing. This case highlights the complexity of balancing immunosuppression to control hyperinflammation versus systemic SARS-CoV-2 dissemination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Hepatolenticular Degeneration/diagnosis , Liver/virology , Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic/etiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Diagnosis, Differential , Female , Humans , Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic/diagnosis , Young Adult
7.
EJHaem ; 2020 Jun 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-629713

ABSTRACT

The clinical course of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) varies from mild symptoms to acute respiratory distress syndrome, hyperinflammation, and coagulation disorder. The hematopoietic system plays a critical role in the observed hyperinflammation, particularly in severely ill patients. We conducted a prospective diagnostic study performing a blood differential analyzing morphologic changes in peripheral blood of COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 associated morphologic changes were defined in a training cohort and subsequently validated in a second cohort (n = 45). Morphologic aberrations were further analyzed by electron microscopy (EM) and flow cytometry of lymphocytes was performed. We included 45 COVID-19 patients in our study (median age 58 years; 82% on intensive care unit). The blood differential showed a specific pattern of pronounced multi-lineage aberrations in lymphocytes (80%) and monocytes (91%) of patients. Overall, 84%, 98%, and 98% exhibited aberrations in granulopoiesis, erythropoiesis, and thrombopoiesis, respectively. Electron microscopy revealed the ultrastructural equivalents of the observed changes and confirmed the multi-lineage aberrations already seen by light microscopy. The morphologic pattern caused by COVID-19 is characteristic and underlines the serious perturbation of the hematopoietic system. We defined a hematologic COVID-19 pattern to facilitate further independent diagnostic analysis and to investigate the impact on the hematologic system during the clinical course of COVID-19 patients.

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