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Arthritis Rheumatol ; 74(1): 33-37, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527417


OBJECTIVE: B cell depletion is an established therapeutic principle in a wide range of autoimmune diseases. However, B cells are also critical for inducing protective immunity after infection and vaccination. We undertook this study to assess humoral and cellular immune responses after infection with or vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in patients with B cell depletion and controls who are B cell-competent. METHODS: Antibody responses (tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and T cell responses (tested using interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay) against the SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 and nucleocapsid proteins were assessed in a limited number of previously infected (n = 6) and vaccinated (n = 8) autoimmune disease patients with B cell depletion, as well as previously infected (n = 30) and vaccinated (n = 30) healthy controls. RESULTS: As expected, B cell and T cell responses to the nucleocapsid protein were observed only after infection, while respective responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 were found after both infection and vaccination. A SARS-CoV-2 antibody response was observed in all vaccinated controls (30 of 30 [100%]) but in none of the vaccinated patients with B cell depletion (0 of 8). In contrast, after SARS-CoV-2 infection, both the patients with B cell depletion (spike S1, 5 of 6 [83%]; nucleocapsid, 3 of 6 [50%]) and healthy controls (spike S1, 28 of 30 [93%]; nucleocapsid, 28 of 30 [93%]) developed antibodies. T cell responses against the spike S1 and nucleocapsid proteins were found in both infected and vaccinated patients with B cell depletion and in the controls. CONCLUSION: These data show that B cell depletion completely blocks humoral but not T cell SARS-CoV-2 vaccination response. Furthermore, limited humoral immune responses are found after SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with B cell depletion.

Autoimmune Diseases/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Lymphocyte Depletion/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Autoimmune Diseases/drug therapy , Autoimmune Diseases/virology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology
Arthritis Res Ther ; 23(1): 166, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266501


BACKGROUND: To investigate whether methotrexate treatment may affect the susceptibility to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). METHODS: Clinical assessment of symptoms, SARS-CoV-2 RNA, and anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG in an initial case series of four families and confirmatory case series of seven families, within which one family member developed coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) and exposed another family member receiving methotrexate treatment; experimental part with methotrexate treatment of mice and organoids followed by the assessment of mRNA and protein expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-2. RESULTS: In the initial case series, three of four women on a joint ski trip developed COVID-19, while the fourth woman, under treatment with methotrexate, remained virus-free. Two of the three diseased women infected their husbands, while the third husband treated with methotrexate remained virus-free. In addition, 7 other families were identified in a follow-up case series, in which one member developed COVID-19, while the other, receiving methotrexate, remained healthy. Experimentally, when mice were treated with methotrexate, ACE2 expression significantly decreased in the lung, in the intestinal epithelium, and in intestinal organoids. CONCLUSION: These clinical and experimental data indicate that methotrexate has certain protective effects on SARS-CoV-2 infection via downregulating ACE2.

COVID-19 , Animals , Humans , Methotrexate , Mice , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2