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1.
J Infect ; 85(3): 318-321, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1885923

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has shown a relevant heterogeneity in spread and fatality among countries together with a significant variability in its clinical presentation, indicating that host genetic factors may influence COVID-19 pathogenicity. Indeed, subjects carrying single pathogenic variants of the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene - i.e. CF carriers - are more susceptible to respiratory tract infections and are more likely to undergo severe COVID-19 with higher risk of 14-day mortality. Given that CF carrier prevalence varies among ethnicities and nations, an ecological study in 37 countries was conducted, in order to determine to what extent the diverse CF carrier geographical distribution may have affected COVID-19 spread and fatality during the first pandemic wave. The CF prevalence in countries, as indicator of the geographical distribution of CF carriers, significantly correlated in a direct manner with both COVID-19 prevalence and its Case Fatality Rate (CFR). In a regression study weighted for the number of tests performed, COVID-19 prevalence positively correlated with CF prevalence, while CFR correlated with population percentage older than 65-year, cancer and CF prevalence. Multivariate regression model also confirmed COVID-19 CFR to be associated with CF prevalence, after adjusting for elderly, cancer prevalence, and weighting for the number of tests performed. This study suggests a putative contribution of population genetics of CFTR in understanding the spatial distribution of COVID-19 spread and fatality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator , Cystic Fibrosis , Heterozygote , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Cystic Fibrosis/complications , Cystic Fibrosis/epidemiology , Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator/genetics , Genetics, Population , Humans , Mutation
2.
Autophagy ; 18(7): 1662-1672, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585354

ABSTRACT

The polymorphism L412F in TLR3 has been associated with several infectious diseases. However, the mechanism underlying this association is still unexplored. Here, we show that the L412F polymorphism in TLR3 is a marker of severity in COVID-19. This association increases in the sub-cohort of males. Impaired macroautophagy/autophagy and reduced TNF/TNFα production was demonstrated in HEK293 cells transfected with TLR3L412F-encoding plasmid and stimulated with specific agonist poly(I:C). A statistically significant reduced survival at 28 days was shown in L412F COVID-19 patients treated with the autophagy-inhibitor hydroxychloroquine (p = 0.038). An increased frequency of autoimmune disorders such as co-morbidity was found in L412F COVID-19 males with specific class II HLA haplotypes prone to autoantigen presentation. Our analyses indicate that L412F polymorphism makes males at risk of severe COVID-19 and provides a rationale for reinterpreting clinical trials considering autophagy pathways.Abbreviations: AP: autophagosome; AUC: area under the curve; BafA1: bafilomycin A1; COVID-19: coronavirus disease-2019; HCQ: hydroxychloroquine; RAP: rapamycin; ROC: receiver operating characteristic; SARS-CoV-2: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; TLR: toll like receptor; TNF/TNF-α: tumor necrosis factor.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Toll-Like Receptor 3 , Autophagy/genetics , Biomarkers , COVID-19/genetics , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/therapeutic use , Male , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Toll-Like Receptor 3/genetics
3.
Hum Genet ; 141(1): 147-173, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1565371

ABSTRACT

The combined impact of common and rare exonic variants in COVID-19 host genetics is currently insufficiently understood. Here, common and rare variants from whole-exome sequencing data of about 4000 SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals were used to define an interpretable machine-learning model for predicting COVID-19 severity. First, variants were converted into separate sets of Boolean features, depending on the absence or the presence of variants in each gene. An ensemble of LASSO logistic regression models was used to identify the most informative Boolean features with respect to the genetic bases of severity. The Boolean features selected by these logistic models were combined into an Integrated PolyGenic Score that offers a synthetic and interpretable index for describing the contribution of host genetics in COVID-19 severity, as demonstrated through testing in several independent cohorts. Selected features belong to ultra-rare, rare, low-frequency, and common variants, including those in linkage disequilibrium with known GWAS loci. Noteworthily, around one quarter of the selected genes are sex-specific. Pathway analysis of the selected genes associated with COVID-19 severity reflected the multi-organ nature of the disease. The proposed model might provide useful information for developing diagnostics and therapeutics, while also being able to guide bedside disease management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/physiopathology , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Phenotype , Severity of Illness Index , Whole Exome Sequencing , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cohort Studies , Female , Germany , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Quebec , SARS-CoV-2 , Sweden , United Kingdom
4.
J Pers Med ; 11(6)2021 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1270072

ABSTRACT

The clinical presentation of COVID-19 is extremely heterogeneous, ranging from asymptomatic to severely ill patients. Thus, host genetic factors may be involved in determining disease presentation and progression. Given that carriers of single cystic fibrosis (CF)-causing variants of the CFTR gene-CF-carriers-are more susceptible to respiratory tract infections, our aim was to determine their likelihood of undergoing severe COVID-19. We implemented a cohort study of 874 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, during the first pandemic wave in Italy. Whole exome sequencing was performed and validated CF-causing variants were identified. Forty subjects (16 females and 24 males) were found to be CF-carriers. Among mechanically ventilated patients, CF-carriers were more represented (8.7%) and they were significantly (p < 0.05) younger (mean age 51 years) compared to noncarriers (mean age 61.42 years). Furthermore, in the whole cohort, the age of male CF-carriers was lower, compared to noncarriers (p < 0.05). CF-carriers had a relative risk of presenting an abnormal inflammatory response (CRP ≥ 20 mg/dL) of 1.69 (p < 0.05) and their hazard ratio of death at day 14 was 3.10 (p < 0.05) in a multivariate regression model, adjusted for age, sex and comorbidities. In conclusion, CF-carriers are more susceptible to the severe form of COVID-19, showing also higher risk of 14-day death.

5.
EBioMedicine ; 65: 103246, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1108220

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: While SARS-CoV-2 similarly infects men and women, COVID-19 outcome is less favorable in men. Variability in COVID-19 severity may be explained by differences in the host genome. METHODS: We compared poly-amino acids variability from WES data in severely affected COVID-19 patients versus SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive oligo-asymptomatic subjects. FINDINGS: Shorter polyQ alleles (≤22) in the androgen receptor (AR) conferred protection against severe outcome in COVID-19 in the first tested cohort (both males and females) of 638 Italian subjects. The association between long polyQ alleles (≥23) and severe clinical outcome (p = 0.024) was also validated in an independent cohort of Spanish men <60 years of age (p = 0.014). Testosterone was higher in subjects with AR long-polyQ, possibly indicating receptor resistance (p = 0.042 Mann-Whitney U test). Inappropriately low serum testosterone level among carriers of the long-polyQ alleles (p = 0.0004 Mann-Whitney U test) predicted the need for intensive care in COVID-19 infected men. In agreement with the known anti-inflammatory action of testosterone, patients with long-polyQ and age ≥60 years had increased levels of CRP (p = 0.018, not accounting for multiple testing). INTERPRETATION: We identify the first genetic polymorphism that appears to predispose some men to develop more severe disease. Failure of the endocrine feedback to overcome AR signaling defects by increasing testosterone levels during the infection leads to the polyQ tract becoming dominant to serum testosterone levels for the clinical outcome. These results may contribute to designing reliable clinical and public health measures and provide a rationale to test testosterone as adjuvant therapy in men with COVID-19 expressing long AR polyQ repeats. FUNDING: MIUR project "Dipartimenti di Eccellenza 2018-2020" to Department of Medical Biotechnologies University of Siena, Italy (Italian D.L. n.18 March 17, 2020) and "Bando Ricerca COVID-19 Toscana" project to Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Senese. Private donors for COVID-19 research and charity funds from Intesa San Paolo.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Peptides/genetics , Receptors, Androgen/genetics , Aged , Case-Control Studies , Critical Care/statistics & numerical data , Female , Genome, Human/genetics , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Spain , Testosterone/blood
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