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1.
Frontiers in immunology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1813100

ABSTRACT

The frequent severe COVID-19 course in patients with periodontitis suggests a link of the aetiopathogenesis of both diseases. The formation of intravascular neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) is crucial to the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19. Periodontitis is characterised by an increased level of circulating NETs, a propensity for increased NET formation, delayed NET clearance and low-grade endotoxemia (LGE). The latter has an enormous impact on innate immunity and susceptibility to infection with SARS-CoV-2. LPS binds the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and this complex, which is more active than unbound LPS, precipitates massive NET formation. Thus, circulating NET formation is the common denominator in both COVID-19 and periodontitis and other diseases with low-grade endotoxemia like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) also increase the risk to develop severe COVID-19. Here we discuss the role of propensity for increased NET formation, DNase I deficiency and low-grade endotoxaemia in periodontitis as aggravating factors for the severe course of COVID-19 and possible strategies for the diminution of increased levels of circulating periodontitis-derived NETs in COVID-19 with periodontitis comorbidity.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321642

ABSTRACT

Background: A number of histopathological reports showed the presence of widespread thrombosis and associated morphology in pulmonary vessels of patients with COVID-19. Later, we identified vascular occlusions with neutrophils and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), as major components, in autopsy tissue from patients with COVID-19.Methods: We, here investigated 109 lung specimens from 17 patients with COVID-19 and compared them with 11 lung specimens from two patients who succumbed to pulmonary embolism and acute cardiac. Healthy lung specimens from four patients served as controls. We studied these autopsy lung specimens using immunohistochemistry and native endogenous fluorescence.Findings: We present a label-free imaging technique using native endogenous fluorescence that enables the visualization of occluded vessels. We demonstrate that native endogenous fluorescence identified occluded vessels in tissue specimens from patients with COVID-19.Interpretation: Label-free detection of occluded vessels enabled the detection of affected occluded vessels in lung specimens of patients with COVID-19 where the occluding components showed varying contents of neutrophil-derived materials.Funding Statement: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), EU, Volkswagen-StiftungDeclaration of Interests: All authors have no conflicts of interests to declare.Ethics Approval Statement: An institutional approval from each local Ethical Committee was obtained (permit #193_13B;permit # 174_20B;EK 092/20;EK 119/20;EK 460/20).

3.
Biophys J ; 120(14): 2838-2847, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605922

ABSTRACT

Clinical syndrome coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) induced by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is characterized by rapid spreading and high mortality worldwide. Although the pathology is not yet fully understood, hyperinflammatory response and coagulation disorders leading to congestions of microvessels are considered to be key drivers of the still-increasing death toll. Until now, physical changes of blood cells have not been considered to play a role in COVID-19 related vascular occlusion and organ damage. Here, we report an evaluation of multiple physical parameters including the mechanical features of five frequent blood cell types, namely erythrocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, and eosinophils. More than four million blood cells of 17 COVID-19 patients at different levels of severity, 24 volunteers free from infectious or inflammatory diseases, and 14 recovered COVID-19 patients were analyzed. We found significant changes in lymphocyte stiffness, monocyte size, neutrophil size and deformability, and heterogeneity of erythrocyte deformation and size. Although some of these changes recovered to normal values after hospitalization, others persisted for months after hospital discharge, evidencing the long-term imprint of COVID-19 on the body.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hospitalization , Humans , Neutrophils , Phenotype , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 754667, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555518

ABSTRACT

Clinical features of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Acute infection management is a substantial healthcare issue, and the development of long-Covid syndrome (LCS) is extremely challenging for patients and physicians. It is associated with a variety of characteristics as impaired capillary microcirculation, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), proinflammatory cytokines, and functional autoantibodies targeting G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR-AAbs). Here, we present a case report of successful healing of LCS with BC 007 (Berlin Cures, Berlin, Germany), a DNA aptamer drug with a high affinity to GPCR-AAbs that neutralizes these AAbs. A patient with a documented history of glaucoma, recovered from mild COVID-19, but still suffered from CFS, loss of taste, and impaired capillary microcirculation in the macula and peripapillary region. He was positively tested for various targeting GPCR-AAbs. Within 48 h after a single BC 007 treatment, GPCR-AAbs were functionally inactivated and remained inactive during the observation period of 4 weeks. This observation was accompanied by constant improvement of the fatigue symptoms of the patient, taste, and retinal capillary microcirculation. Therefore, the removal of GPCR-AAb might ameliorate the characteristics of the LCD, such as capillary impairment, loss of taste, and CFS.

5.
Arthritis Rheumatol ; 74(1): 33-37, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527417

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: B cell depletion is an established therapeutic principle in a wide range of autoimmune diseases. However, B cells are also critical for inducing protective immunity after infection and vaccination. We undertook this study to assess humoral and cellular immune responses after infection with or vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in patients with B cell depletion and controls who are B cell-competent. METHODS: Antibody responses (tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and T cell responses (tested using interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay) against the SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 and nucleocapsid proteins were assessed in a limited number of previously infected (n = 6) and vaccinated (n = 8) autoimmune disease patients with B cell depletion, as well as previously infected (n = 30) and vaccinated (n = 30) healthy controls. RESULTS: As expected, B cell and T cell responses to the nucleocapsid protein were observed only after infection, while respective responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 were found after both infection and vaccination. A SARS-CoV-2 antibody response was observed in all vaccinated controls (30 of 30 [100%]) but in none of the vaccinated patients with B cell depletion (0 of 8). In contrast, after SARS-CoV-2 infection, both the patients with B cell depletion (spike S1, 5 of 6 [83%]; nucleocapsid, 3 of 6 [50%]) and healthy controls (spike S1, 28 of 30 [93%]; nucleocapsid, 28 of 30 [93%]) developed antibodies. T cell responses against the spike S1 and nucleocapsid proteins were found in both infected and vaccinated patients with B cell depletion and in the controls. CONCLUSION: These data show that B cell depletion completely blocks humoral but not T cell SARS-CoV-2 vaccination response. Furthermore, limited humoral immune responses are found after SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with B cell depletion.


Subject(s)
Autoimmune Diseases/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Lymphocyte Depletion/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Autoimmune Diseases/drug therapy , Autoimmune Diseases/virology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology
6.
Cells ; 10(9)2021 08 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1458477

ABSTRACT

The enlightenment of the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) as a part of the innate immune system shed new insights into the pathologies of various diseases. The initial idea that NETs are a pivotal defense structure was gradually amended due to several deleterious effects in consecutive investigations. NETs formation is now considered a double-edged sword. The harmful effects are not limited to the induction of inflammation by NETs remnants but also include occlusions caused by aggregated NETs (aggNETs). The latter carries the risk of occluding tubular structures like vessels or ducts and appear to be associated with the pathologies of various diseases. In addition to life-threatening vascular clogging, other occlusions include painful stone formation in the biliary system, the kidneys, the prostate, and the appendix. AggNETs are also prone to occlude the ductal system of exocrine glands, as seen in ocular glands, salivary glands, and others. Last, but not least, they also clog the pancreatic ducts in a murine model of neutrophilia. In this regard, elucidating the mechanism of NETs-dependent occlusions is of crucial importance for the development of new therapeutic approaches. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to address the putative mechanisms of NETs-associated occlusions in the pathogenesis of disease, as well as prospective treatment modalities.


Subject(s)
Embolism/immunology , Extracellular Traps/physiology , Thrombosis/immunology , Animals , Body Fluids/immunology , Body Fluids/physiology , Embolism/physiopathology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Humans , Inflammation/pathology , Neutrophils/immunology , Prospective Studies , Thrombosis/physiopathology
7.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 676554, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1325537

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), affects the pulmonary systems via angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) receptor, being an entry to systemic infection. As COVID-19 disease features ACE-2 deficiency, a link to microcirculation is proposed. Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A) enables non-invasive analysis of retinal microvasculature. Thus, an impaired systemic microcirculation might be mapped on retinal capillary system. As recent OCT-A studies, analyzing microcirculation in two subdivided layers, yielded contrary results, an increased subdivision of retinal microvasculature might offer an even more fine analysis. The aim of the study was to investigate retinal microcirculation by OCT-A after COVID-19 infection in three subdivided layers (I). In addition, short-term retinal affections were monitored during COVID-19 disease (II). Considering (I), a prospective study (33 patientspost-COVID and 28 controls) was done. Macula and peripapillary vessel density (VD) were scanned with the Spectralis II. Macula VD was measured in three layers: superficial vascular plexus (SVP), intermediate capillary plexus (ICP), and deep capillary plexus (DCP). Analysis was done by the EA-Tool, including an Anatomical Positioning System and an analysis of peripapillary VD by implementing Bruch's membrane opening (BMO) landmarks. Overall, circular (c1, c2, and c3) and sectorial VD (s1-s12) was analyzed. Considering (II), in a retrospective study, 29 patients with severe complications of COVID-19 infection, hospitalized at the intensive care unit, were monitored for retinal findings at bedside during hospitalization. (I) Overall (p = 0.0133) and circular (c1, p = 0.00257; c2, p = 0.0067; and c3, p = 0.0345). VD of the ICP was significantly reduced between patientspost-COVID and controls, respectively. Overall (p = 0.0179) and circular (c1, p = 0.0189) peripapillary VD was significantly reduced between both groups. Subgroup analysis of hospitalized vs. non-hospitalized patientspost-COVID yielded a significantly reduced VD of adjacent layers (DCP and SVP) with increased severity of COVID-19 disease. Clinical severity parameters showed a negative correlation with VD (ICP) and peripapillary VD. (II) Funduscopy yielded retinal hemorrhages and cotton wool spots in 17% of patients during SARS-CoV-2 infection. As VD of the ICP and peripapillary regions was significantly reduced after COVID-19 disease and showed a link to clinical severity markers, we assume that the severity of capillary impairment after COVID-19 infection is mapped on retinal microcirculation, visualized by non-invasive OCT-A.

8.
Cell Death Differ ; 28(11): 3125-3139, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1241944

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection poses a major threat to the lungs and multiple other organs, occasionally causing death. Until effective vaccines are developed to curb the pandemic, it is paramount to define the mechanisms and develop protective therapies to prevent organ dysfunction in patients with COVID-19. Individuals that develop severe manifestations have signs of dysregulated innate and adaptive immune responses. Emerging evidence implicates neutrophils and the disbalance between neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation and degradation plays a central role in the pathophysiology of inflammation, coagulopathy, organ damage, and immunothrombosis that characterize severe cases of COVID-19. Here, we discuss the evidence supporting a role for NETs in COVID-19 manifestations and present putative mechanisms, by which NETs promote tissue injury and immunothrombosis. We present therapeutic strategies, which have been successful in the treatment of immunο-inflammatory disorders and which target dysregulated NET formation or degradation, as potential approaches that may benefit patients with severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Neutrophils/immunology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/immunology , Citrullination , Complement Activation , Humans , Neutrophils/metabolism , Platelet Activation , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Thrombosis/etiology
9.
Front Immunol ; 11: 594849, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083385

ABSTRACT

Most patients who became critically ill following infection with COVID-19 develop severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) attributed to a maladaptive or inadequate immune response. The complement system is an important component of the innate immune system that is involved in the opsonization of viruses but also in triggering further immune cell responses. Complement activation was seen in plasma adsorber material that clogged during the treatment of critically ill patients with COVID-19. Apart from the lung, the kidney is the second most common organ affected by COVID-19. Using immunohistochemistry for complement factors C1q, MASP-2, C3c, C3d, C4d, and C5b-9 we investigated the involvement of the complement system in six kidney biopsies with acute kidney failure in different clinical settings and three kidneys from autopsy material of patients with COVID-19. Renal tissue was analyzed for signs of renal injury by detection of thrombus formation using CD61, endothelial cell rarefaction using the marker E-26 transformation specific-related gene (ERG-) and proliferation using proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-staining. SARS-CoV-2 was detected by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Biopsies from patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS, n = 5), severe acute tubular injury (ATI, n = 7), zero biopsies with disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC, n = 7) and 1 year protocol biopsies from renal transplants (Ctrl, n = 7) served as controls. In the material clogging plasma adsorbers used for extracorporeal therapy of patients with COVID-19 C3 was the dominant protein but collectin 11 and MASP-2 were also identified. SARS-CoV-2 was sporadically present in varying numbers in some biopsies from patients with COVID-19. The highest frequency of CD61-positive platelets was found in peritubular capillaries and arteries of COVID-19 infected renal specimens as compared to all controls. Apart from COVID-19 specimens, MASP-2 was detected in glomeruli with DIC and ATI. In contrast, the classical pathway (i.e. C1q) was hardly seen in COVID-19 biopsies. Both C3 cleavage products C3c and C3d were strongly detected in renal arteries but also occurs in glomerular capillaries of COVID-19 biopsies, while tubular C3d was stronger than C3c in biopsies from COVID-19 patients. The membrane attack complex C5b-9, demonstrating terminal pathway activation, was predominantly deposited in COVID-19 biopsies in peritubular capillaries, renal arterioles, and tubular basement membrane with similar or even higher frequency compared to controls. In conclusion, various complement pathways were activated in COVID-19 kidneys, the lectin pathway mainly in peritubular capillaries and in part the classical pathway in renal arteries whereas the alternative pathway seem to be crucial for tubular complement activation. Therefore, activation of the complement system might be involved in the worsening of renal injury. Complement inhibition might thus be a promising treatment option to prevent deregulated activation and subsequent collateral tissue injury.


Subject(s)
Acute Kidney Injury/immunology , Acute Kidney Injury/virology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/immunology , Complement Activation/physiology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Cells ; 9(12)2020 12 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-971834

ABSTRACT

Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) leads to an adaptive immune response in the host and the formation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies. While IgG responses against SARS-CoV-2 have been characterized quite well, less is known about IgA. IgA2 activates immune cells and induces inflammation and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation which may contribute to organ injury and fatal outcome in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. SARS-CoV-2 spike protein specific antibody levels were measured in plasma samples of 15 noninfected controls and 82 SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with no or mild symptoms, moderate symptoms (hospitalization) or severe disease (intensive care unit, ICU). Antibody levels were compared to levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and circulating extracellular DNA (ecDNA) as markers for general inflammation and NET formation, respectively. While levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG were similar in all patient groups, IgA2 antibodies were restricted to severe disease and showed the strongest discrimination between nonfatal and fatal outcome in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. While anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA2 levels correlated with CRP levels in severely diseased patients, only anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgA2 correlated with ecDNA. These data suggest that the formation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgA2 during SARS-CoV-2 infection is a marker for more severe disease related to NET formation and poor outcome.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers/blood , C-Reactive Protein/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Case-Control Studies , Cell-Free Nucleic Acids/blood , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
11.
EBioMedicine ; 58: 102925, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-701831

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus induced disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be complicated by severe organ damage leading to dysfunction of the lungs and other organs. The processes that trigger organ damage in COVID-19 are incompletely understood. METHODS: Samples were donated from hospitalized patients. Sera, plasma, and autopsy-derived tissue sections were examined employing flow cytometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and immunohistochemistry. PATIENT FINDINGS: Here, we show that severe COVID-19 is characterized by a highly pronounced formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) inside the micro-vessels. Intravascular aggregation of NETs leads to rapid occlusion of the affected vessels, disturbed microcirculation, and organ damage. In severe COVID-19, neutrophil granulocytes are strongly activated and adopt a so-called low-density phenotype, prone to spontaneously form NETs. In accordance, markers indicating NET turnover are consistently increased in COVID-19 and linked to disease severity. Histopathology of the lungs and other organs from COVID-19 patients showed congestions of numerous micro-vessels by aggregated NETs associated with endothelial damage. INTERPRETATION: These data suggest that organ dysfunction in severe COVID-19 is associated with excessive NET formation and vascular damage. FUNDING: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), EU, Volkswagen-Stiftung.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Microvessels/pathology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Thrombosis/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Humans , Microvessels/metabolism , Neutrophils/pathology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Thrombosis/etiology , Thrombosis/pathology
12.
Front Pharmacol ; 11: 870, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-615558

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need for new therapeutic strategies to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to curtail its most severe complications. Severely ill patients experience pathologic manifestations of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and clinical reports demonstrate striking neutrophilia, elevated levels of multiple cytokines, and an exaggerated inflammatory response in fatal COVID-19. Mechanical respirator devices are the most widely applied therapy for ARDS in COVID-19, yet mechanical ventilation achieves strikingly poor survival. Many patients, who recover, experience impaired cognition or physical disability. In this review, we argue the need to develop therapies aimed at inhibiting neutrophil recruitment, activation, degranulation, and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) release. Moreover, we suggest that currently available pharmacologic approaches should be tested as treatments for ARDS in COVID-19. In our view, targeting host-mediated immunopathology holds promise to alleviate progressive pathologic complications of ARDS and reduce morbidities and mortalities in severely ill patients with COVID-19.

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