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Hemasphere ; 5(7): e603, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301392


The clinical and immunological impact of B-cell depletion in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is unclear. We conducted a prospectively planned analysis of COVID-19 in patients who received B-cell depleting anti-CD20 antibodies and chemotherapy for B-cell lymphomas. The control cohort consisted of age- and sex-matched patients without lymphoma who were hospitalized because of COVID-19. We performed detailed clinical analyses, in-depth cellular and molecular immune profiling, and comprehensive virological studies in 12 patients with available biospecimens. B-cell depleted lymphoma patients had more severe and protracted clinical course (median hospitalization 88 versus 17 d). All patients actively receiving immunochemotherapy (n = 5) required ICU support including long-term mechanical ventilation. Neutrophil recovery following granulocyte colony stimulating factor stimulation coincided with hyperinflammation and clinical deterioration in 4 of the 5 patients. Immune cell profiling and gene expression analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells revealed early activation of monocytes/macrophages, neutrophils, and the complement system in B-cell depleted lymphoma patients, with subsequent exacerbation of the inflammatory response and dysfunctional interferon signaling at the time of clinical deterioration of COVID-19. Longitudinal immune cell profiling and functional in vitro assays showed SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T-effector cell responses. Finally, we observed long-term detection of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory specimens (median 84 versus 12 d) and an inability to mount lasting SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in B-cell depleted lymphoma patients. In summary, we identified clinically relevant particularities of COVID-19 in lymphoma patients receiving B-cell depleting immunochemotherapies.

Viruses ; 13(2)2021 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1060774


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), comprises mild courses of disease as well as progression to severe disease, characterised by lung and other organ failure. The immune system is considered to play a crucial role for the pathogenesis of COVID-19, although especially the contribution of innate-like T cells remains poorly understood. Here, we analysed the phenotype and function of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, innate-like T cells with potent antimicrobial effector function, in patients with mild and severe COVID-19 by multicolour flow cytometry. Our data indicate that MAIT cells are highly activated in patients with COVID-19, irrespective of the course of disease, and express high levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-17A and TNFα ex vivo. Of note, expression of the activation marker HLA-DR positively correlated with SAPS II score, a measure of disease severity. Upon MAIT cell-specific in vitro stimulation, MAIT cells however failed to upregulate expression of the cytokines IL-17A and TNFα, as well as cytolytic proteins, that is, granzyme B and perforin. Thus, our data point towards an altered cytokine expression profile alongside an impaired antibacterial and antiviral function of MAIT cells in COVID-19 and thereby contribute to the understanding of COVID-19 immunopathogenesis.

COVID-19/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation , Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells/immunology , Adaptive Immunity , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Granzymes/metabolism , HLA-DR Antigens , Humans , Interleukin-17/metabolism , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Male , Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells/metabolism , Severity of Illness Index , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism