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1.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine ; 205(1), 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1927857

ABSTRACT

Background: Latent class analyses in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have identified “hyper-inflammatory” and “hypo-inflammatory” phenotypes with divergent clinical outcomes and treatment responses. ARDS phenotypes are defined using plasma biomarkers and clinical variables. It is currently unknown if these phenotypes have distinct pulmonary biology and if pre-clinical models of disease replicate the biology of either phenotype. Methods: 45 subjects with ARDS (Berlin Definition) and 5 mechanically ventilated controls were selected from cohorts of mechanically ventilated patients at UCSF and ZSFG. Patients with COVID-19 were excluded from this analysis. A 3-variable classifier model (plasma IL-8, protein C, and bicarbonate;Sinha 2020) was used to assign ARDS phenotypes. Tracheal aspirate (TA) RNA was analyzed using established bulk and single-cell sequencing pipelines (Langelier 2018, Sarma 2021). Differentially expressed (DE) genes were analyzed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). Microbial community composition was analyzed with vegan. Fgsea was used to test for enrichment of gene sets from experimental ARDS models in genes that were differentially expressed between each phenotype and mechanically ventilated controls. Results: Bulk RNA sequencing (RNAseq) was available from 29 subjects with hypoinflammatory ARDS and 10 subjects with hyperinflammatory ARDS. 2,777 genes were differentially expressed between ARDS phenotypes. IPA identified several candidate upstream regulators of gene expression in hyperinflammatory ARDS including IL6, TNF, IL17C, and interferons (Figure 1A). 2,953 genes were differentially expressed between hyperinflammatory ARDS and 5 ventilated controls;in contrast, only 243 genes were differentially expressed between hypoinflammatory ARDS and controls, suggesting gene expression in the hypoinflammatory phenotype was more heterogeneous. Gene sets from experimental models of acute lung injury were enriched in hyperinflammatory ARDS but not in hypoinflammatory ARDS (Figure 1B). Single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) was available from 6 additional subjects with ARDS, of whom 3 had hyperinflammatory ARDS. 14,843 cells passed quality control filters. Hyperinflammatory ARDS subjects had a markedly higher burden of neutrophils (Figure 1C), including a cluster of stressed neutrophils expressing heat shock protein RNA that was not present in hypoinflammatory ARDS. Expression of a Th1 signature was higher in T cells from hyperinflammatory ARDS. Differential expression analysis in macrophages identified increased expression of genes associated with mortality in a previous study of ARDS patients (Morell 2019). Conclusions: The respiratory tract biology of ARDS phenotypes is distinct. Hyperinflammatory ARDS is characterized by neutrophilic inflammation with distinct immune cell polarization. Transcriptomic profiling identifies candidate preclinical disease models that replicate gene expression observed in hyperinflammatory ARDS.

2.
PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333706

ABSTRACT

RATIONALE: Asthma is associated with chronic changes in the airway epithelium, a key target of SARS-CoV-2. Many epithelial changes are driven by the type 2 cytokine IL-13, but the effects of IL-13 on SARS-CoV-2 infection are unknown. OBJECTIVES: We sought to discover how IL-13 and other cytokines affect expression of genes encoding SARS-CoV-2-associated host proteins in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) and determine whether IL-13 stimulation alters susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: We used bulk and single cell RNA-seq to identify cytokine-induced changes in SARS-CoV-2-associated gene expression in HBECs. We related these to gene expression changes in airway epithelium from individuals with mild-moderate asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We analyzed effects of IL-13 on SARS-CoV-2 infection of HBECs. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Transcripts encoding 332 of 342 (97%) SARS-CoV-2-associated proteins were detected in HBECs (>=1 RPM in 50% samples). 41 (12%) of these mRNAs were regulated by IL-13 (>1.5-fold change, FDR < 0.05). Many IL-13-regulated SARS-CoV-2-associated genes were also altered in type 2 high asthma and COPD. IL-13 pretreatment reduced viral RNA recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infected cells and decreased dsRNA, a marker of viral replication, to below the limit of detection in our assay. Mucus also inhibited viral infection. CONCLUSIONS: IL-13 markedly reduces susceptibility of HBECs to SARS-CoV-2 infection through mechanisms that likely differ from those activated by type I interferons. Our findings may help explain reports of relatively low prevalence of asthma in patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and could lead to new strategies for reducing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

3.
PubMed; 2020.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333583

ABSTRACT

While SARS-CoV-2 infection has pleiotropic and systemic effects in some patients, many others experience milder symptoms. We sought a holistic understanding of the severe/mild distinction in COVID-19 pathology, and its origins. We performed a whole-blood preserving single-cell analysis protocol to integrate contributions from all major cell types including neutrophils, monocytes, platelets, lymphocytes and the contents of serum. Patients with mild COVID-19 disease display a coordinated pattern of interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression across every cell population and these cells are systemically absent in patients with severe disease. Severe COVID-19 patients also paradoxically produce very high anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers and have lower viral load as compared to mild disease. Examination of the serum from severe patients demonstrates that they uniquely produce antibodies with multiple patterns of specificity against interferon-stimulated cells and that those antibodies functionally block the production of the mild disease-associated ISG-expressing cells. Overzealous and auto-directed antibody responses pit the immune system against itself in many COVID-19 patients and this defines targets for immunotherapies to allow immune systems to provide viral defense. ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: In severe COVID-19 patients, the immune system fails to generate cells that define mild disease;antibodies in their serum actively prevents the successful production of those cells.

4.
PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-297038

ABSTRACT

Secondary bacterial infections, including ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), lead to worse clinical outcomes and increased mortality following viral respiratory infections. Critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) face an elevated risk of VAP, although susceptibility varies widely. Because mechanisms underlying VAP predisposition remained unknown, we assessed lower respiratory tract host immune responses and microbiome dynamics in 36 patients, including 28 COVID-19 patients, 15 of whom developed VAP, and eight critically ill controls. We employed a combination of tracheal aspirate bulk and single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). Two days before VAP onset, a lower respiratory transcriptional signature of bacterial infection was observed, characterized by increased expression of neutrophil degranulation, toll-like receptor and cytokine signaling pathways. When assessed at an earlier time point following endotracheal intubation, more than two weeks prior to VAP onset, we observed a striking early impairment in antibacterial innate and adaptive immune signaling that markedly differed from COVID-19 patients who did not develop VAP. scRNA-seq further demonstrated suppressed immune signaling across monocytes/macrophages, neutrophils and T cells. While viral load did not differ at an early post-intubation timepoint, impaired SARS-CoV-2 clearance and persistent interferon signaling characterized the patients who later developed VAP. Longitudinal metatranscriptomic analysis revealed disruption of lung microbiome community composition in patients who developed VAP, providing a connection between dysregulated immune signaling and outgrowth of opportunistic pathogens. Together, these findings demonstrate that COVID-19 patients who develop VAP have impaired antibacterial immune defense weeks before secondary infection onset. One sentence summary: COVID-19 patients with secondary bacterial pneumonia have impaired immune signaling and lung microbiome changes weeks before onset.

6.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine ; 203(9):1, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1407044
7.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine ; 203(9), 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1277755

ABSTRACT

Rationale: SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, exhibits an ACE2-dependent airway epithelial tropism, and exploits host cell proteins to replicate and evade detection. The impact of asthma on COVID-19 susceptibility and severity is unclear. We sought to discover how genes encoding SARS-CoV-2-associated host proteins are expressed in primary human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs), and how these genes are regulated by cytokines important in asthma. Methods: We compiled a list of 342 SARS-CoV-2-associated genes. We cultured primary HBECs at air-liquid interface in the absence of cytokine, or with interleukin (IL)-13, IL-17, interferon (IFN)-α, or IFN-γ. We used bulk RNA-seq and single cell RNA-sequencing to identify changes in gene expression. We correlated cytokine-regulated changes in SARS-CoV-2-associated transcripts on cytokine exposure in vitro with gene expression changes in transcriptomic profiling datasets derived from individuals with mild-to-moderate asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Results: Transcripts encoding 332 of 342 (97%) SARS-CoV-2-associated proteins were detected in HBECs (≥1 RPM in 50% samples);85 (26%) were regulated by at least one cytokine (>1.5-fold change, FDR < 0.05). 21 and 19 of the 41 IL-13 responsive, SARS-CoV-2-associated genes identified in HBECs correlated with type 2 inflammatory gene signature scores in transcriptomic profiling datasets derived from individuals with mild-to-moderate asthma and COPD (p < 0.05);few IL-17 or interferon-responsive genes were correlated with their respective signatures in either dataset. Single cell RNA-sequencing revealed that 143 of the 332 (43%) SARS-CoV-2-associated transcripts detected in HBECs were differentially expressed between cell types (FDR < 0.05). 11 SARS-CoV-2-associated genes were modulated by IL-13 in a cell type-specific manner (>1.25-fold change, FDR < 0.05). Conclusions: Many genes encoding proteins associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection are expressed in HBECs, with substantial differences among cell subsets. IL-13 induces extensive changes in the expression of SARS-CoV-2-related genes that correlated with a measure of type-2 inflammation in vivo, providing a plausible basis for differences in outcome of COVID-19 in individuals with asthma.

8.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine ; 203(9), 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1277339

ABSTRACT

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a rapid increase in the incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The distinct features of pulmonary biology in COVID-19 ARDS compared to other causes of ARDS, including other lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), are not well understood. Methods: Tracheal aspirates (TA) and plasma were collected within five days of intubation from mechanically ventilated adults admitted to one of two academic medical centers. ARDS and LRTI diagnoses and were verified by study physicians. Subjects were excluded if they received immunosuppression. TA from subjects with COVID-ARDS was compared to gene expression in TA from subjects with other causes of ARDS (OtherARDS) or mechanically ventilated control subjects without evidence of pulmonary pathology (NoARDS). Plasma concentrations of IL-6, IL-8, and protein C also were compared between these groups. Upstream regulator and pathway analysis was performed on significantly differentially expressed genes with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). Subgroup analyses were performed to compare gene expression in COVID to ARDS associated with other viral LRTIs and bacterial LRTIs. The association of interferon-stimulated gene expression with SARS-CoV2 viral load was compared to the same association in nasopharyngeal swabs in a cohort of subjects with mild SARS-CoV2. Results: TA sequencing was available from 15 subjects with COVID, 32 subjects with other causes of ARDS (OtherARDS), and 5 mechanically ventilated subjects without evidence of pulmonary pathology (NoARDS). 696 genes were differentially expressed between COVID and OtherARDS (Figure 1A). IL-6, IL-8, B-cell receptor, and hypoxia inducible factor-1a signaling were attenuated in COVID compared to OtherARDS. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) and PTEN signaling were higher in COVID compared to OtherARDS (Figure 1B). Plasma levels of IL-6, IL-8, and protein C were not significantly different between COVID and OtherARDS. In subgroup analyses, IL-8 signaling was higher in COVID compared to viral LRTI, but lower than bacterial LRTI. Type I/III interferon was higher in COVID compared to bacterial ARDS, but lower compared to viral ARDS (Figure 1C). Compared to nasopharyngeal swabs from subjects with mild COVID-19, expression of several interferon stimulated genes was less strongly correlated with SARS-CoV2 viral load in TA (Figure 1D). IPA identified several candidate medications to treat COVID-19, including dexamethasone, G-CSF, and etanercept. Conclusions: TA sequencing identifies unique features of the host response in COVID-19. These differentially expressed pathways may represent potential therapeutic targets. An impaired interferon response in the lung may increase susceptibility to severe SARS-COV2.

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