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J Mol Med (Berl) ; 100(4): 555-568, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1653411


The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is overwhelming the healthcare systems. Identification of systemic reactions underlying COVID-19 will lead to new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for monitoring and early intervention in this viral infection. We performed targeted metabolomics covering up to 630 metabolites within several key metabolic pathways in plasma samples of 20 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 37 matched controls. Plasma metabolic signatures specifically differentiated severe COVID-19 from control patients. The identified metabolic signatures indicated distinct alterations in both lipid and amino acid metabolisms in COVID-19 compared to control patient plasma. Systems biology-based analyses identified sphingolipid, tryptophan, tyrosine, glutamine, arginine, and arachidonic acid metabolism as mostly impacted pathways in COVID-19 patients. Notably, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) was significantly reduced in COVID-19 patients and GABA plasma levels allowed for stratification of COVID-19 patients with high sensitivity and specificity. The data reveal large metabolic disturbances in COVID-19 patients and suggest use of GABA as potential biomarker and therapeutic target for the infection.

COVID-19 , Biomarkers , Humans , Lipids , Metabolomics , Pandemics , Tryptophan
Blood ; 138(22): 2256-2268, 2021 12 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443788


SARS-CoV-2 vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca) causes a thromboembolic complication termed vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). Using biophysical techniques, mouse models, and analysis of VITT patient samples, we identified determinants of this vaccine-induced adverse reaction. Super-resolution microscopy visualized vaccine components forming antigenic complexes with platelet factor 4 (PF4) on platelet surfaces to which anti-PF4 antibodies obtained from VITT patients bound. PF4/vaccine complex formation was charge-driven and increased by addition of DNA. Proteomics identified substantial amounts of virus production-derived T-REx HEK293 proteins in the ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-containing vaccine. Injected vaccine increased vascular leakage in mice, leading to systemic dissemination of vaccine components known to stimulate immune responses. Together, PF4/vaccine complex formation and the vaccine-stimulated proinflammatory milieu trigger a pronounced B-cell response that results in the formation of high-avidity anti-PF4 antibodies in VITT patients. The resulting high-titer anti-PF4 antibodies potently activated platelets in the presence of PF4 or DNA and polyphosphate polyanions. Anti-PF4 VITT patient antibodies also stimulated neutrophils to release neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in a platelet PF4-dependent manner. Biomarkers of procoagulant NETs were elevated in VITT patient serum, and NETs were visualized in abundance by immunohistochemistry in cerebral vein thrombi obtained from VITT patients. Together, vaccine-induced PF4/adenovirus aggregates and proinflammatory reactions stimulate pathologic anti-PF4 antibody production that drives thrombosis in VITT. The data support a 2-step mechanism underlying VITT that resembles the pathogenesis of (autoimmune) heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

Antigen-Antibody Complex/immunology , Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Capsid Proteins/adverse effects , Drug Contamination , Genetic Vectors/adverse effects , HEK293 Cells/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Platelet Factor 4/immunology , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/etiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/adverse effects , Adenoviridae/immunology , Animals , Antigen-Antibody Complex/ultrastructure , Autoantibodies/biosynthesis , Capillary Leak Syndrome/etiology , Capsid Proteins/immunology , Cell Line, Transformed , /immunology , Dynamic Light Scattering , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Extravasation of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Materials/etiology , Genetic Vectors/immunology , HEK293 Cells/chemistry , Humans , Imaging, Three-Dimensional , Immunoglobulin G/biosynthesis , Inflammation , Mice , Microscopy/methods , Platelet Activation , Proteomics , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/blood , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/immunology , Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial/diagnostic imaging , Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Cultivation
EBioMedicine ; 67: 103382, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1230443


BACKGROUND: Coagulopathy and inflammation are hallmarks of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and are associated with increased mortality. Clinical and experimental data have revealed a role for neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in COVID-19 disease. The mechanisms that drive thrombo-inflammation in COVID-19 are poorly understood. METHODS: We performed proteomic analysis and immunostaining of postmortem lung tissues from COVID-19 patients and patients with other lung pathologies. We further compared coagulation factor XII (FXII) and DNase activities in plasma samples from COVID-19 patients and healthy control donors and determined NET-induced FXII activation using a chromogenic substrate assay. FINDINGS: FXII expression and activity were increased in the lung parenchyma, within the pulmonary vasculature and in fibrin-rich alveolar spaces of postmortem lung tissues from COVID-19 patients. In agreement with this, plasmaaac acafajföeFXII activation (FXIIa) was increased in samples from COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, FXIIa colocalized with NETs in COVID-19 lung tissue indicating that NETs accumulation leads to FXII contact activation in COVID-19. We further showed that an accumulation of NETs is partially due to impaired NET clearance by extracellular DNases as DNase substitution improved NET dissolution and reduced FXII activation in vitro. INTERPRETATION: Collectively, our study supports that the NET/FXII axis contributes to the pathogenic chain of procoagulant and proinflammatory responses in COVID-19. Targeting both NETs and FXIIa may offer a potential novel therapeutic strategy. FUNDING: This study was supported by the European Union (840189), the Werner Otto Medical Foundation Hamburg (8/95) and the German Research Foundation (FR4239/1-1, A11/SFB877, B08/SFB841 and P06/KFO306).

COVID-19/metabolism , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Factor XII/metabolism , Autopsy , Case-Control Studies , Deoxyribonucleases/blood , Deoxyribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Neutrophil Activation , Pneumonia , Proteomics