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medrxiv; 2023.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2023.03.09.23286797


Systemic inflammation in critically ill patients can lead to serious consequences such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a condition characterized by the presence of lung inflammation, edema, and impaired gas exchange, associated with poor survival. Understanding molecular pathobiology is essential to improve critical care of these patients. To this end, we use multimodal profiles of SARS-CoV-2 infected hospitalized participants to the Biobanque Quebecoise de la COVID-19 (BQC-19) to characterize endophenotypes associated with different degrees of disease severity. Proteomic, metabolomic, and genomic characterization supported a role for neutrophil-associated procoagulant activity in severe COVID-19 ARDS that is inversely correlated with sphinghosine-1 phosphate plasma levels. Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR) and SH2-containing transforming protein 4 (SHC4) signaling were identified as molecular features associated with endophenotype 6 (EP6). Mechanical ventilation in EP6 was associated with alterations in lipoprotein metabolism. These findings help define the molecular mechanisms related to specific severe outcomes, that can be used to identify early unfavorable clinical trajectories and treatable traits to improve the survival of critically ill patients.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Respiratory Distress Syndrome , COVID-19 , Inflammation , Critical Illness , Pneumocephalus , Coagulation Protein Disorders , Pneumonia , Edema
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.11.02.22281834


Defining the molecular mechanisms of novel emerging diseases like COVID-19 is crucial to identify treatable traits to improve patient care. To circumvent a priori bias and the lack of in-depth knowledge of a new disease, we opted for an unsupervised approach, using the detailed circulating proteome, as measured by 4985 aptamers (SOMAmers), of 731 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive hospitalized participants to Biobanque quebecoise de la COVID-19 (BQC19). The consensus clustering identified six endophenotypes (EPs) present in this cohort, with varying degrees of disease severity. One endophenotype, EP6, was associated with a greater proportion of ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and death. Clinical features of this endophenotype, showed increased levels of C-reactive protein, D-dimers, elevated neutrophils, and depleted lymphocytes. Moreover, metabolomic analysis supported a role for immunothrombosis in severe COVID-19 ARDS. Furthermore, the approach enabled the identification of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR) and SH2-containing transforming protein 4 (SHC4) signaling as features of the molecular pathways associated with severe COVID-19. Finally, this information was sufficient to train an accurate predictive model solely based on clinical laboratory measurements, suggesting the use of blood markers as surrogates for generalizing these EPs to new patients and automating identification of high-risk groups in the clinic.

Respiratory Distress Syndrome , COVID-19 , Death , Emergencies
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.07.01.20144121


Abnormal coagulation and an increased risk of thrombosis are features of severe COVID-19, with parallels proposed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a life-threating condition associated with hyperinflammation. The presence of HLH was described in severely ill patients during the H1N1 influenza epidemic, presenting with pulmonary vascular thrombosis. We tested the hypothesis that genes causing primary HLH regulate pathways linking pulmonary thromboembolism to the presence of SARS-CoV-2 using novel network-informed computational algorithms. This approach led to the identification of Neutrophils Extracellular Traps (NETs) as plausible mediators of vascular thrombosis in severe COVID-19 in children and adults. Taken together, the network-informed analysis led us to propose the following model: the release of NETs in response to inflammatory signals acting in concert with SARS-CoV-2 damage the endothelium and direct platelet-activation promoting abnormal coagulation leading to serious complications of COVID-19. The underlying hypothesis is that genetic and/or environmental conditions that favor the release of NETs may predispose individuals to thrombotic complications of COVID-19 due to an increase risk of abnormal coagulation. This would be a common pathogenic mechanism in conditions including autoimmune/infectious diseases, hematologic and metabolic disorders.