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1.
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 2022 Jul 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1936142

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Liver transplant recipients (LTRs) show a decreased immune response after 2 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccinations compared with healthy controls (HCs). Here, we investigated the immunogenicity of additional vaccinations. METHODS: In this prospective study, humoral (anti-SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain [anti-S RBD]) and cellular (interferon-gamma release assay) immune responses were determined after mRNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in 106 LTRs after a third vaccination and in 36 LTRs after a fourth vaccination. Patients with anti-S RBD antibody levels >0.8 arbitrary unit (AU)/mL after vaccination were defined as responders. RESULTS: After 3 vaccinations, 92% (97/106) of LTRs compared with 100% (28/28) of HCs were responders. However, the antibody titer of LTRs was lower compared with HCs (1891.0 vs 21,857.0 AU/mL; P < .001). Between a second and third vaccination (n = 75), the median antibody level increased 67-fold in LTRs. In patients seronegative after 2 vaccinations, a third dose induced seroconversion in 76% (19/25), whereas all HCs were already seropositive after 2 vaccinations. A spike-specific T-cell response was detected in 72% (28/39) after a third vaccination compared with 32% (11/34) after a second vaccination. Independent risk factors for a low antibody response (anti-S RBD <100 AU/mL) were first vaccination within the first year after liver transplant (odds ratio [OR], 8.00; P = .023), estimated glomular filtration rate <45 mL/min (OR, 4.72; P = .006), and low lymphocyte counts (OR, 5.02; P = .008). A fourth vaccination induced a 9-fold increase in the median antibody level and seroconversion in 60% (3/5) of previous non-responders. CONCLUSIONS: A third and fourth SARS-CoV-2 vaccination effectively increases the humoral and cellular immune response of LTRs, but to a lesser extent than in HCs. A fourth vaccination should be generally considered in LTRs.

2.
Liver Int ; 2022 Jul 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1937976

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: To explore the humoral and T-cell response to the third COVID-19 vaccination in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). METHODS: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers were prospectively determined in 81 AIH patients and 53 healthy age- and sex-matched controls >7 days (median 35) after the first COVID-19 booster vaccination. The spike-specific T-cell response was assessed using an activation-induced marker assay (AIM) in a subset of patients. RESULTS: Median antibody levels were significantly lower in AIH compared to controls (10 908 vs. 25 000 AU/ml, p < .001), especially in AIH patients treated with MMF (N = 14, 4542 AU/ml, p = .004) or steroids (N = 27, 7326 AU/ml, p = .020). Also, 48% of AIH patients had antibody titers below the 10% percentile of the healthy controls (9194 AU/ml, p < .001). AIH patients had a high risk of failing to develop a spike-specific T-cell response (15/34 (44%) vs. 2/16 (12%), p = .05) and showed overall lower frequencies of spike-specific CD4 + T cells (median: 0.074% vs 0.283; p = .01) after the booster vaccination compared to healthy individuals. In 34/81 patients, antibody titers before and after booster vaccination were available. In this subgroup, all patients but especially those without detectable/low antibodies titers (<100 AU/ml) after the second vaccination (N = 11/34) showed a strong, 148-fold increase. CONCLUSION: A third COVID-19 vaccination efficiently boosts antibody levels and T-cell responses in AIH patients and even seroconversion in patients with the absent immune response after two vaccinations, but to a lower level compared to controls. Therefore, we suggest routinely assessing antibody levels in AIH patients and offering additional booster vaccinations to those with suboptimal responses.

3.
United European Gastroenterol J ; 10(3): 319-329, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1739241

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/AIMS: In this observational study, we explored the humoral and cellular immune response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and patients with cholestatic autoimmune liver disease (primary sclerosing cholangitis [PSC] and primary biliary cholangitis [PBC]). METHODS: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers were determined using the DiaSorin LIAISON and Roche immunoassays in 103 AIH, 64 PSC, and 61 PBC patients and 95 healthy controls >14 days after the second COVID-19 vaccination. The spike-specific T-cell response was assessed using an activation-induced marker assay (AIM) in a subset of individuals. RESULTS: Previous SARS-CoV-2 infection was frequently detected in AIH but not in PBC/PSC (10/112 (9%), versus 4/144 (2.7%), p = 0.03). In the remaining patients, seroconversion was measurable in 97% of AIH and 99% of PBC/PSC patients, respectively. However, in 13/94 AIH patients antibody levels were lower than in any healthy control, which contributed to lower antibody levels of the total AIH cohort when compared to PBC/PSC or controls (641 vs. 1020 vs. 1200 BAU/ml, respectively). Notably, antibody levels were comparably low in AIH patients with (n = 85) and without immunosuppression (n = 9). Also, antibody titers significantly declined within 7 months after the second vaccination. In the AIM assay of 20 AIH patients, a spike-specific T-cell response was undetectable in 45% despite a positive serology, while 87% (13/15) of the PBC/PSC demonstrated a spike-specific T-cell response. CONCLUSION: Patients with AIH show an increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rate as well as an impaired B- and T-cell response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccine compared to PBC and PSC patients, even in the absence of immunosuppression. Thus, antibody responses to vaccination in AIH patients need to be monitored and early booster immunizations considered in low responders.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cholangitis, Sclerosing , Cholestasis , Hepatitis, Autoimmune , Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cholangitis, Sclerosing/complications , Hepatitis, Autoimmune/complications , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(11): e4020-e4024, 2021 12 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1560662

ABSTRACT

We provide detailed clinical, virological, and immunological data of a B-cell-depleted patient treated with obinutuzumab for follicular lymphoma with protracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and viremia. A sustained response was achieved after 2 courses of remdesivir and subsequent convalescent plasma therapy. Immunocompromised patients might require combined and prolonged antiviral treatment regimens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 20(1): 162-172.e9, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401300

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Detailed information on the immune response after second vaccination of cirrhotic patients and liver transplant (LT) recipients against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is largely missing. We aimed at comparing the vaccine-induced humoral and T-cell responses of these vulnerable patient groups. METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike-protein titers were determined using the DiaSorin LIAISON (anti-S trimer) and Roche Elecsys (anti-S RBD) immunoassays in 194 patients (141 LT, 53 cirrhosis Child-Pugh A-C) and 56 healthy controls before and 10 to 84 days after second vaccination. The spike-specific T-cell response was assessed using an interferon-gamma release assay (EUROIMMUN). A logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of low response. RESULTS: After the second vaccination, seroconversion was achieved in 63% of LT recipients and 100% of cirrhotic patients and controls using the anti-S trimer assay. Median anti-SARS-CoV-2 titers of responding LT recipients were lower compared with cirrhotic patients and controls (P < .001). Spike-specific T-cell response rates were 36.6%, 65.4%, and 100% in LT, cirrhosis, and controls, respectively. Altogether, 28% of LT recipients did neither develop a humoral nor a T-cell response after second vaccination. In LT recipients, significant predictors of absent or low humoral response were age >65 years (odds ratio [OR], 4.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.48-14.05) and arterial hypertension (OR, 2.50; 95% CI, 1.10-5.68), whereas vaccination failure was less likely with calcineurin inhibitor monotherapy than with other immunosuppressive regimens (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.13-0.99). CONCLUSION: Routine serological testing of the vaccination response and a third vaccination in patients with low or absent response seem advisable. These vulnerable cohorts need further research on the effects of heterologous vaccination and intermittent reduction of immunosuppression before booster vaccinations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Viral , Aged , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunity , Liver Cirrhosis , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
7.
iScience ; 24(7): 102752, 2021 Jul 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275407

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a respiratory tract infection that can affect multiple organ systems. Predicting the severity and clinical outcome of individual patients is a major unmet clinical need that remains challenging due to intra- and inter-patient variability. Here, we longitudinally profiled and integrated more than 150 clinical, laboratory, and immunological parameters of 173 patients with mild to fatal COVID-19. Using systems biology, we detected progressive dysregulation of multiple parameters indicative of organ damage that correlated with disease severity, particularly affecting kidneys, hepatobiliary system, and immune landscape. By performing unsupervised clustering and trajectory analysis, we identified T and B cell depletion as early indicators of a complicated disease course. In addition, markers of hepatobiliary damage emerged as robust predictor of lethal outcome in critically ill patients. This allowed us to propose a novel clinical COVID-19 SeveriTy (COST) score that distinguishes complicated disease trajectories and predicts lethal outcome in critically ill patients.

8.
Immun Inflamm Dis ; 9(3): 905-917, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1224967

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Hamburg is a city state of approximately 1.9 Mio inhabitants in Northern Germany. Currently, the COVID-19 epidemic that had largely subsided during last summer is resurging in Hamburg and in other parts of the world, underlining the need for additional tools to monitor SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses. AIM: We aimed to develop and validate a simple, low-cost assay for detecting antibodies against the native coronavirus 2 spike protein (CoV-2 S) that does not require recombinant protein or virus. METHOD: We transiently co-transfected HEK cells or CHO cells with expression vectors encoding CoV-2 S and nuclear GFP. Spike protein-specific antibodies in human serum samples bound to transfected cells were detected with fluorochrome conjugated secondary antibodies by flow cytometry orimmunofluorescence microscopy. We applied this assay to monitor antibody development in COVID-19 patients, household contacts, and hospital personnel during the ongoing epidemic in the city state of Hamburg. RESULTS: All recovered COVID-19 patients showed high levels of CoV-2 S-specific antibodies. With one exception, all household members that did not develop symptoms also did not develop detectable antibodies. Similarly, lab personnel that worked during the epidemic and followed social distancing guidelines remained antibody-negative. CONCLUSION: We conclude that high-titer CoV-2 S-specific antibodies are found in most recovered COVID-19 patients and in symptomatic contacts, but only rarely in asymptomatic contacts. The assay may help health care providers to monitor disease progression and antibody responses in vaccination trials, to identify health care personnel that likely are resistant to re-infection, and recovered individuals with high antibody titers that may be suitable asplasma and/or antibody donors.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Cricetinae , Cricetulus , Flow Cytometry , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
9.
J Leukoc Biol ; 109(1): 77-90, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1188012

ABSTRACT

B cells play a central role in antiviral and antiparasitic immunity, not only as producers of antibodies, but also as APCs and mediators of inflammation. In this study, we used 16-color flow cytometry analysis to investigate the frequency, differentiation, and activation status of peripheral B cells of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection or acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria compared with the healthy individuals. As a main result, we observed an increase of the frequency of (CD27-, CD21-) atypical memory B cells and (CD19+, CD27+, CD38+) plasmablasts in malaria and COVID-19 patients. Additionally, CD86, PD-1, CXCR3, and CD39 expression was up-regulated, whereas CD73 was down-regulated on plasmablasts of COVID-19 and malaria patients compared with the bulk B cell population. In particular, there was a more pronounced loss of CD73+ B cells in malaria. The frequency of plasmablasts positively correlated with serum levels of CRP, IL-6, and LDH of COVID-19 patients. In the longitudinal course of COVID-19, a rapid normalization of the frequency of atypical memory B cells was observed. The role and function of plasmablasts and atypical memory B cells in COVID-19 and other acute infections remain to be further investigated. The role of B cells as either "driver or passenger" of hyperinflammation during COVID-19 needs to be clarified.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Malaria, Falciparum/immunology , Plasma Cells/immunology , Plasmodium falciparum/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antigens, CD/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Malaria, Falciparum/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Plasma Cells/pathology
10.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(11): e4020-e4024, 2021 12 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889500

ABSTRACT

We provide detailed clinical, virological, and immunological data of a B-cell-depleted patient treated with obinutuzumab for follicular lymphoma with protracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and viremia. A sustained response was achieved after 2 courses of remdesivir and subsequent convalescent plasma therapy. Immunocompromised patients might require combined and prolonged antiviral treatment regimens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Cells ; 9(8)2020 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-669617

ABSTRACT

The ectonucleotidases CD39 and CD73 regulate immune responses by balancing extracellular ATP and adenosine in inflammation and are likely to be involved in the pathophysiology of COVID-19. Here, we analyzed CD39 and CD73 on different lymphocyte populations in a small cohort of COVID-19 patients and in healthy individuals. We describe a significantly lower level of expression of CD73 on cytotoxic lymphocyte populations, including CD8+ T, natural killer T (NKT), and natural killer (NK) cells, during COVID-19. Interestingly, the decrease of CD73 on CD8+ T cells and NKT cells correlated with serum ferritin levels. Furthermore, we observed distinct functional differences between the CD73+ and CD73- subsets of CD8+ T cells and NKT cells with regard to cytokine/toxin secretion. In COVID-19 patients, the majority of the CD73-CD8+ T cells were capable of secreting granzyme B, perforin, tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) or interferon-gamma (IFN-γ). To conclude, in this first study of CD39 and CD73 expression of lymphocytes in COVID-19, we show that CD8+ T cells and NKT cells lacking CD73 possess a significantly higher cytotoxic effector functionality compared to their CD73+ counterparts. Future studies should investigate differences of cellular CD39 and CD73 expression in patients at different disease stages and their potential as prognostic markers or targets for immunomodulatory therapies.


Subject(s)
5'-Nucleotidase/metabolism , Apyrase/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Natural Killer T-Cells/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Adenosine/metabolism , Adult , Aged , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/enzymology , Female , GPI-Linked Proteins/metabolism , Granzymes/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation/enzymology , Inflammation/immunology , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Perforin/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/metabolism , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism
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