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J Allergy Clin Immunol ; 147(1): 81-91, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2095538


BACKGROUND: Severe immunopathology may drive the deleterious manifestations that are observed in the advanced stages of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) but are poorly understood. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to phenotype leukocyte subpopulations and the cytokine milieu in the lungs and blood of critically ill patients with COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). METHODS: We consecutively included patients less than 72 hours after intubation following informed consent from their next of kin. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was evaluated by microscopy; bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and blood were assessed by 10-color flow cytometry and a multiplex cytokine panel. RESULTS: Four mechanically ventilated patients (aged 40-75 years) with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 ARDS were included. Immature neutrophils dominated in both blood and lungs, whereas CD4 and CD8 T-cell lymphopenia was observed in the 2 compartments. However, regulatory T cells and TH17 cells were found in higher fractions in the lung. Lung CD4 and CD8 T cells and macrophages expressed an even higher upregulation of activation markers than in blood. A wide range of cytokines were expressed at high levels both in the blood and in the lungs, most notably, IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, IP-10, and monocyte chemoattactant protein-1, consistent with hyperinflammation. CONCLUSION: COVID-19 ARDS exhibits a distinct immunologic profile in the lungs, with a depleted and exhausted CD4 and CD8 T-cell population that resides within a heavily hyperinflammatory milieu.

CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Lung/immunology , Lymphopenia/immunology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Th17 Cells/immunology , Adult , Aged , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunophenotyping , Lung/pathology , Lymphopenia/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Th17 Cells/pathology