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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329799

ABSTRACT

Infections caused by SARS-CoV-2 may cause a severe disease, termed COVID-19, with significant mortality. Host responses to this infection, mainly in terms of systemic inflammation, have emerged as key pathogenetic mechanisms, and their modulation is the only therapeutic strategy that has shown a mortality benefit. Herein, we used peripheral blood transcriptomes of critically-ill COVID-19 patients obtained at admission in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), to identify two transcriptomic clusters characterized by expression of either interferon-related or immune checkpoint genes, respectively. These profiles have different ICU outcome, in spite of no major clinical differences at ICU admission. A transcriptomic signature was used to identify these clusters in an external validation cohort, yielding similar results. These findings reveal different underlying pathogenetic mechanisms and illustrate the potential of transcriptomics to identify patient endotypes in severe COVID-19, aimed to ultimately personalize their therapies.

2.
Elife ; 112022 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1643864

ABSTRACT

Background: Variants in IFIH1, a gene coding the cytoplasmatic RNA sensor MDA5, regulate the response to viral infections. We hypothesized that IFIH1 rs199076 variants would modulate host response and outcome after severe COVID-19. Methods: Patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with confirmed COVID-19 were prospectively studied and rs1990760 variants determined. Peripheral blood gene expression, cell populations, and immune mediators were measured. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy volunteers were exposed to an MDA5 agonist and dexamethasone ex-vivo, and changes in gene expression assessed. ICU discharge and hospital death were modeled using rs1990760 variants and dexamethasone as factors in this cohort and in-silico clinical trials. Results: About 227 patients were studied. Patients with the IFIH1 rs1990760 TT variant showed a lower expression of inflammation-related pathways, an anti-inflammatory cell profile, and lower concentrations of pro-inflammatory mediators. Cells with TT variant exposed to an MDA5 agonist showed an increase in IL6 expression after dexamethasone treatment. All patients with the TT variant not treated with steroids survived their ICU stay (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.49, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.29-4.79). Patients with a TT variant treated with dexamethasone showed an increased hospital mortality (HR: 2.19, 95% CI: 1.01-4.87) and serum IL-6. In-silico clinical trials supported these findings. Conclusions: COVID-19 patients with the IFIH1 rs1990760 TT variant show an attenuated inflammatory response and better outcomes. Dexamethasone may reverse this anti-inflammatory phenotype. Funding: Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red (CB17/06/00021), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (PI19/00184 and PI20/01360), and Fundació La Marató de TV3 (413/C/2021).


Patients with severe COVID-19 often need mechanical ventilation to help them breathe and other types of intensive care. The outcome for many of these patients depends on how their immune system reacts to the infection. If the inflammatory response triggered by the immune system is too strong, this can cause further harm to the patient. One gene that plays an important role in inflammation is IFIH1 which encodes a protein that helps the body to recognize viruses. There are multiple versions of this gene which each produce a slightly different protein. It is possible that this variation impacts how the immune system responds to the virus that causes COVID-19. To investigate, Amado-Rodríguez, Salgado del Riego et al. analyzed the IFIH1 gene in 227 patients admitted to an intensive care unit in Spain for severe COVID-19 between March and December 2020. They found that patients with a specific version of the gene called TT experienced less inflammation and were more likely to survive the infection. Physicians typically treat patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 with corticosteroid drugs that reduce the inflammatory response. However, Amado-Rodríguez, Salgado del Riego et al. found that patients with the TT version of the IFIH1 gene were at greater risk of dying if they received corticosteroids. The team then applied the distribution of IFIH1 variants among different ethnic ancestries to data from a previous clinical trial, and simulated the effects of corticosteroid treatment. This 'mock' clinical trial supported their findings from the patient-derived data, which were also validated by laboratory experiments on immune cells from individuals with the TT gene. The work by Amado-Rodríguez, Salgado del Riego et al. suggests that while corticosteroids benefit some patients, they may cause harm to others. However, a real-world clinical trial is needed to determine whether patients with the TT version of the IFIH1 gene would do better without steroids.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Inflammation/genetics , Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aged , COVID-19/complications , Critical Illness , DEAD-box RNA Helicases/metabolism , Female , Humans , Inflammation/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged
4.
Transl Res ; 233: 104-116, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1051128

ABSTRACT

The p53/p21 pathway is activated in response to cell stress. However, its role in acute lung injury has not been elucidated. Acute lung injury is associated with disruption of the alveolo-capillary barrier leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Mechanical ventilation may be necessary to support gas exchange in patients with ARDS, however, high positive airway pressures can cause regional overdistension of alveolar units and aggravate lung injury. Here, we report that acute lung injury and alveolar overstretching activate the p53/p21 pathway to maintain homeostasis and avoid massive cell apoptosis. A systematic pooling of transcriptomic data from animal models of lung injury demonstrates the enrichment of specific p53- and p21-dependent gene signatures and a validated senescence profile. In a clinically relevant, murine model of acid aspiration and mechanical ventilation, we observed changes in the nuclear envelope and the underlying chromatin, DNA damage and activation of the Tp53/p21 pathway. Absence of Cdkn1a decreased the senescent response, but worsened lung injury due to increased cell apoptosis. Conversely, treatment with lopinavir and/or ritonavir led to Cdkn1a overexpression and ameliorated cell apoptosis and lung injury. The activation of these mechanisms was associated with early markers of senescence, including expression of senescence-related genes and increases in senescence-associated heterochromatin foci in alveolar cells. Autopsy samples from lungs of patients with ARDS revealed increased senescence-associated heterochromatin foci. Collectively, these results suggest that acute lung injury activates p53/p21 as an antiapoptotic mechanism to ameliorate damage, but with the side effect of induction of senescence.


Subject(s)
Acute Lung Injury/metabolism , Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21/metabolism , Acids/administration & dosage , Acids/toxicity , Acute Lung Injury/etiology , Acute Lung Injury/pathology , Animals , Apoptosis , Cellular Senescence , Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21/deficiency , Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21/genetics , DNA Damage , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Respiration, Artificial/adverse effects , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Signal Transduction , Stress, Mechanical , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/deficiency , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/genetics , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/metabolism
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