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1.
Cell ; 2021 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588146

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is linked to both dysfunctional immune response and unrestrained immunopathology, and it remains unclear whether T cells contribute to disease pathology. Here, we combined single-cell transcriptomics and single-cell proteomics with mechanistic studies to assess pathogenic T cell functions and inducing signals. We identified highly activated CD16+ T cells with increased cytotoxic functions in severe COVID-19. CD16 expression enabled immune-complex-mediated, T cell receptor-independent degranulation and cytotoxicity not found in other diseases. CD16+ T cells from COVID-19 patients promoted microvascular endothelial cell injury and release of neutrophil and monocyte chemoattractants. CD16+ T cell clones persisted beyond acute disease maintaining their cytotoxic phenotype. Increased generation of C3a in severe COVID-19 induced activated CD16+ cytotoxic T cells. Proportions of activated CD16+ T cells and plasma levels of complement proteins upstream of C3a were associated with fatal outcome of COVID-19, supporting a pathological role of exacerbated cytotoxicity and complement activation in COVID-19.

2.
J Infect Dis ; 2021 Oct 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575544

ABSTRACT

The upper respiratory tract (URT) is the primary entry site for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses, but its involvement in viral amplification and pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. Here we investigated primary nasal epithelial cultures, as well as vital explanted tissues to scrutinize the tropism of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the recently emerged B.1.1.7 variant. Our analyses revealed a widespread replication competence of SARS-CoV-2 in polarized nasal epithelium as well as in the examined URT and salivary gland tissues, which was also shared by the B.1.1.7 virus thereby highlighting the active role of these anatomic sites in COVID-19.

3.
Blood Adv ; 2021 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551193

ABSTRACT

The high incidence of thrombotic events suggests a possible role of the contact system pathway in COVID-19 pathology. Here, we demonstrate altered levels of factor XII (FXII) and its activation products in critically ill COVID-19 patients in comparison to patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome due to influenza virus (ARDS-influenza). Compatible with this data, we report rapid consumption of FXII in COVID-19, but not in ARDS-influenza, plasma. Interestingly, the lag phase in fibrin formation, triggered by the FXII activator kaolin, was not prolonged in COVID-19 as opposed to ARDS-influenza. Using confocal and electron microscopy, we showed that increased FXII activation rate, in conjunction with elevated fibrinogen levels, triggers formation of fibrinolysis-resistant, compact clots with thin fibers and small pores in COVID-19. Accordingly, clot lysis was markedly impaired in COVID-19 as opposed to ARDS-infleunza subjects. Dysregulatated fibrinolytic system, as evidenced by elevated levels of thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor, tissue-plasminogen activator, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in COVID-19 potentiated this effect. Analysis of lung tissue sections revealed wide-spread extra- and intra-vascular compact fibrin deposits in COVID-19 patients. Together, compact fibrin network structure and dysregulated fibrinolysis may collectively contribute to high incidence of thrombotic events in COVID-19.

4.
Cell ; 184(26): 6243-6261.e27, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1536467

ABSTRACT

COVID-19-induced "acute respiratory distress syndrome" (ARDS) is associated with prolonged respiratory failure and high mortality, but the mechanistic basis of lung injury remains incompletely understood. Here, we analyze pulmonary immune responses and lung pathology in two cohorts of patients with COVID-19 ARDS using functional single-cell genomics, immunohistology, and electron microscopy. We describe an accumulation of CD163-expressing monocyte-derived macrophages that acquired a profibrotic transcriptional phenotype during COVID-19 ARDS. Gene set enrichment and computational data integration revealed a significant similarity between COVID-19-associated macrophages and profibrotic macrophage populations identified in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. COVID-19 ARDS was associated with clinical, radiographic, histopathological, and ultrastructural hallmarks of pulmonary fibrosis. Exposure of human monocytes to SARS-CoV-2, but not influenza A virus or viral RNA analogs, was sufficient to induce a similar profibrotic phenotype in vitro. In conclusion, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 triggers profibrotic macrophage responses and pronounced fibroproliferative ARDS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/virology , Macrophages/pathology , Macrophages/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Antigens, CD/metabolism , Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Cell Communication , Cohort Studies , Fibroblasts/pathology , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/diagnostic imaging , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/genetics , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/pathology , Phenotype , Proteome/metabolism , Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/diagnostic imaging , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , Tomography, X-Ray Computed , Transcription, Genetic
5.
J Infect Dis ; 2021 Oct 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470155

ABSTRACT

The upper respiratory tract (URT) is the primary entry site for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses, but its involvement in viral amplification and pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. Here we investigated primary nasal epithelial cultures, as well as vital explanted tissues to scrutinize the tropism of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the recently emerged B.1.1.7 variant. Our analyses revealed a widespread replication competence of SARS-CoV-2 in polarized nasal epithelium as well as in the examined URT and salivary gland tissues, which was also shared by the B.1.1.7 virus thereby highlighting the active role of these anatomic sites in COVID-19.

7.
The FASEB Journal ; 35(S1), 2021.
Article in English | Wiley | ID: covidwho-1233934

ABSTRACT

Study objective Endothelial dysfunction and increased microvascular permeability are hallmarks of severe COVID-19. At present, the extent of endothelial barrier failure and its underlying mechanisms in COVID?19 remain unclear. We hypothesized that endothelial leak results from bioactive mediators released in COVID-19 rather than direct endothelial infection and can thus be recapitulated ex vivo by treating endothelial cells with patient plasma, thus providing a personalized screening platform for barrier-protective interventions in COVID-19. Methods Citrate plasma was sampled as part of the Pa-COVID-19 cohort study (ethics approval EA2/066/20) in patients with moderate (hospitalized, no invasive ventilation;WHO severity score: 3-4) and severe (high flow O2 or intubated and mechanically ventilated;WHO severity score: 5-7) COVID?19. Plasma samples were diluted to 10% (v/v) in cell culture medium without FCS and tested for their ability to disrupt barrier integrity of primary human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMEC) monolayers by electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS), immunofluorescence for endothelial VE-cadherin and F-actin, and real-time Ca2+ imaging. Plasma from healthy donors served as control. Results COVID-19 plasma was virus-free but caused endothelial barrier disruption as measured by ECIS and gap formation in HPMEC monolayers. The extent of barrier disruption increased with disease severity but varied considerably between endothelial cells from different microvascular beds (lung/heart >> skin). The TRPV4-antagonist HC-067047 prevented the endothelial Ca2+ response to COVID-19 plasma and protected endothelial barrier integrity in lung microvascular cells. Conclusion Here, we identify TRPV4 as critical regulator of microvascular permeability in COVID?19. Targeting TRPV4-mediated endothelial barrier failure may present a promising adjunctive therapy in COVID-19.

8.
Infection ; 49(4): 703-714, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198523

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Adequate patient allocation is pivotal for optimal resource management in strained healthcare systems, and requires detailed knowledge of clinical and virological disease trajectories. The purpose of this work was to identify risk factors associated with need for invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), to analyse viral kinetics in patients with and without IMV and to provide a comprehensive description of clinical course. METHODS: A cohort of 168 hospitalised adult COVID-19 patients enrolled in a prospective observational study at a large European tertiary care centre was analysed. RESULTS: Forty-four per cent (71/161) of patients required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Shorter duration of symptoms before admission (aOR 1.22 per day less, 95% CI 1.10-1.37, p < 0.01) and history of hypertension (aOR 5.55, 95% CI 2.00-16.82, p < 0.01) were associated with need for IMV. Patients on IMV had higher maximal concentrations, slower decline rates, and longer shedding of SARS-CoV-2 than non-IMV patients (33 days, IQR 26-46.75, vs 18 days, IQR 16-46.75, respectively, p < 0.01). Median duration of hospitalisation was 9 days (IQR 6-15.5) for non-IMV and 49.5 days (IQR 36.8-82.5) for IMV patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate a short duration of symptoms before admission as a risk factor for severe disease that merits further investigation and different viral load kinetics in severely affected patients. Median duration of hospitalisation of IMV patients was longer than described for acute respiratory distress syndrome unrelated to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Hypertension/complications , Kinetics , Prospective Studies , Respiration, Artificial , Risk Factors , Tertiary Care Centers , Time Factors , Viral Load , Virus Shedding
10.
Cell ; 183(4): 1058-1069.e19, 2020 11 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-785287

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 led to pandemic spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), manifesting with respiratory symptoms and multi-organ dysfunction. Detailed characterization of virus-neutralizing antibodies and target epitopes is needed to understand COVID-19 pathophysiology and guide immunization strategies. Among 598 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from 10 COVID-19 patients, we identified 40 strongly neutralizing mAbs. The most potent mAb, CV07-209, neutralized authentic SARS-CoV-2 with an IC50 value of 3.1 ng/mL. Crystal structures of two mAbs in complex with the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain at 2.55 and 2.70 Å revealed a direct block of ACE2 attachment. Interestingly, some of the near-germline SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing mAbs reacted with mammalian self-antigens. Prophylactic and therapeutic application of CV07-209 protected hamsters from SARS-CoV-2 infection, weight loss, and lung pathology. Our results show that non-self-reactive virus-neutralizing mAbs elicited during SARS-CoV-2 infection are a promising therapeutic strategy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Binding Sites , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cricetinae , Crystallography, X-Ray , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Kinetics , Lung/immunology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
11.
Cell ; 182(6): 1419-1440.e23, 2020 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-694631

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a mild to moderate respiratory tract infection, however, a subset of patients progress to severe disease and respiratory failure. The mechanism of protective immunity in mild forms and the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 associated with increased neutrophil counts and dysregulated immune responses remain unclear. In a dual-center, two-cohort study, we combined single-cell RNA-sequencing and single-cell proteomics of whole-blood and peripheral-blood mononuclear cells to determine changes in immune cell composition and activation in mild versus severe COVID-19 (242 samples from 109 individuals) over time. HLA-DRhiCD11chi inflammatory monocytes with an interferon-stimulated gene signature were elevated in mild COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 was marked by occurrence of neutrophil precursors, as evidence of emergency myelopoiesis, dysfunctional mature neutrophils, and HLA-DRlo monocytes. Our study provides detailed insights into the systemic immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and reveals profound alterations in the myeloid cell compartment associated with severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Myeloid Cells/immunology , Myelopoiesis , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Adult , Aged , CD11 Antigens/genetics , CD11 Antigens/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Female , HLA-DR Antigens/genetics , HLA-DR Antigens/metabolism , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myeloid Cells/cytology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Proteome/genetics , Proteome/metabolism , Proteomics , Single-Cell Analysis
12.
Nature ; 587(7833): 270-274, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-684778

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the rapidly unfolding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic1,2. Clinical manifestations of COVID-19 vary, ranging from asymptomatic infection to respiratory failure. The mechanisms that determine such variable outcomes remain unresolved. Here we investigated CD4+ T cells that are reactive against the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 in the peripheral blood of patients with COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2-unexposed healthy donors. We detected spike-reactive CD4+ T cells not only in 83% of patients with COVID-19 but also in 35% of healthy donors. Spike-reactive CD4+ T cells in healthy donors were primarily active against C-terminal epitopes in the spike protein, which show a higher homology to spike glycoproteins of human endemic coronaviruses, compared with N-terminal epitopes. Spike-protein-reactive T cell lines generated from SARS-CoV-2-naive healthy donors responded similarly to the C-terminal region of the spike proteins of the human endemic coronaviruses 229E and OC43, as well as that of SARS-CoV-2. This results indicate that spike-protein cross-reactive T cells are present, which were probably generated during previous encounters with endemic coronaviruses. The effect of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive T cells on clinical outcomes remains to be determined in larger cohorts. However, the presence of spike-protein cross-reactive T cells in a considerable fraction of the general population may affect the dynamics of the current pandemic, and has important implications for the design and analysis of upcoming trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Coronavirus 229E, Human/immunology , Coronavirus NL63, Human/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/immunology , Cross Reactions , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Lymphocyte Activation , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Infection ; 48(4): 619-626, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-597401

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide causing a global health emergency. Pa-COVID-19 aims to provide comprehensive data on clinical course, pathophysiology, immunology and outcome of COVID-19, to identify prognostic biomarkers, clinical scores, and therapeutic targets for improved clinical management and preventive interventions. METHODS: Pa-COVID-19 is a prospective observational cohort study of patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection treated at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. We collect data on epidemiology, demography, medical history, symptoms, clinical course, and pathogen testing and treatment. Systematic, serial blood sampling will allow deep molecular and immunological phenotyping, transcriptomic profiling, and comprehensive biobanking. Longitudinal data and sample collection during hospitalization will be supplemented by long-term follow-up. RESULTS: Outcome measures include the WHO clinical ordinal scale on day 15 and clinical, functional, and health-related quality-of-life assessments at discharge and during follow-up. We developed a scalable dataset to (i) suit national standards of care, (ii) facilitate comprehensive data collection in medical care facilities with varying resources, and (iii) allow for rapid implementation of interventional trials based on the standardized study design and data collection. We propose this scalable protocol as blueprint for harmonized data collection and deep phenotyping in COVID-19 in Germany. CONCLUSION: We established a basic platform for harmonized, scalable data collection, pathophysiological analysis, and deep phenotyping of COVID-19, which enables rapid generation of evidence for improved medical care and identification of candidate therapeutic and preventive strategies. The electronic database accredited for interventional trials allows fast trial implementation for candidate therapeutic agents. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registered at the German registry for clinical studies (DRKS00021688).


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Registries , Berlin/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , Biological Specimen Banks , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Management , Humans , Observational Studies as Topic , Pandemics , Phenotype , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome , World Health Organization
14.
Cell Syst ; 11(1): 11-24.e4, 2020 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-459007

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global challenge, and point-of-care diagnostic classifiers are urgently required. Here, we present a platform for ultra-high-throughput serum and plasma proteomics that builds on ISO13485 standardization to facilitate simple implementation in regulated clinical laboratories. Our low-cost workflow handles up to 180 samples per day, enables high precision quantification, and reduces batch effects for large-scale and longitudinal studies. We use our platform on samples collected from a cohort of early hospitalized cases of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and identify 27 potential biomarkers that are differentially expressed depending on the WHO severity grade of COVID-19. They include complement factors, the coagulation system, inflammation modulators, and pro-inflammatory factors upstream and downstream of interleukin 6. All protocols and software for implementing our approach are freely available. In total, this work supports the development of routine proteomic assays to aid clinical decision making and generate hypotheses about potential COVID-19 therapeutic targets.


Subject(s)
Blood Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Proteomics/methods , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Biomarkers/blood , Blood Proteins/analysis , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/classification , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/classification , Pneumonia, Viral/classification , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
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