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Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715767


INTRODUCTION: This study investigated the spontaneous clinical course of patients with endomyocardial biopsy (EMB)-proven lymphocytic myocarditis and cardiac human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6) DNA presence, and the effectiveness of steroid-based intervention in HHV6-positive patients. RESULTS: 756 heart failure (HF) patients underwent an EMB procedure to determine the underlying cause of unexplained HF. Low levels of HHV6 DNA, detectable by nested PCR only, were found in 10.4% of the cases (n = 79) of which 62% (n = 49) showed myocardial inflammation. The spontaneous course of patients with EMB-proven HHV6 DNA-associated lymphocytic myocarditis (n = 26) showed significant improvements in the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and clinical symptoms, respectively, in 15/26 (60%) patients, 3-12 months after disease onset. EMB mRNA expression of components of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway and protein analysis of cardiac remodeling markers, analyzed by real-time PCR and MALDI mass spectrometry, respectively, did not differ between HHV6-positive and -negative patients. In another cohort of patients with ongoing symptoms related to lymphocytic myocarditis associated with cardiac levels of HHV6-DNA copy numbers <500 copies/µg cardiac DNA, quantified by real-time PCR, the efficacy and safety of steroid-based immunosuppression for six months was investigated. Steroid-based immunosuppression improved the LVEF (≥5%) in 8/10 patients and reduced cardiac inflammation in 7/10 patients, without an increase in cardiac HHV6 DNA levels in follow-up EMBs. CONCLUSION: Low HHV6 DNA levels are frequently detected in the myocardium, independent of inflammation. In patients with lymphocytic myocarditis with low levels of HHV6 DNA, the spontaneous clinical improvement is nearby 60%. In selected symptomatic patients with cardiac HHV6 DNA copy numbers less than 500 copies/µg cardiac DNA and without signs of an active systemic HHV6 infection, steroid-based therapy was found to be effective and safe. This finding needs to be further confirmed in large, randomized trials.

Herpesvirus 6, Human/physiology , Immunosuppressive Agents/administration & dosage , Myocarditis/drug therapy , Myocarditis/virology , Roseolovirus Infections/drug therapy , Roseolovirus Infections/virology , Steroids/administration & dosage , Adult , Aged , Biopsy , Cohort Studies , DNA, Viral/genetics , Female , Gene Dosage , Herpesvirus 6, Human/genetics , Herpesvirus 6, Human/isolation & purification , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myocarditis/immunology , Myocarditis/physiopathology , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/genetics , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/immunology , Roseolovirus Infections/immunology , Roseolovirus Infections/physiopathology , Stroke Volume
Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev ; 25: 52-73, 2022 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702408


Solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients receive therapeutic immunosuppression that compromises their immune response to infections and vaccines. For this reason, SOT patients have a high risk of developing severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and an increased risk of death from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Moreover, the efficiency of immunotherapies and vaccines is reduced due to the constant immunosuppression in this patient group. Here, we propose adoptive transfer of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells made resistant to a common immunosuppressant, tacrolimus, for optimized performance in the immunosuppressed patient. Using a ribonucleoprotein approach of CRISPR-Cas9 technology, we have generated tacrolimus-resistant SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell products from convalescent donors and demonstrate their specificity and function through characterizations at the single-cell level, including flow cytometry, single-cell RNA (scRNA) Cellular Indexing of Transcriptomes and Epitopes (CITE), and T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing analyses. Based on the promising results, we aim for clinical validation of this approach in transplant recipients. Additionally, we propose a combinatory approach with tacrolimus, to prevent an overshooting immune response manifested as bystander T cell activation in the setting of severe COVID-19 immunopathology, and tacrolimus-resistant SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell products, allowing for efficient clearance of viral infection. Our strategy has the potential to prevent severe COVID-19 courses in SOT or autoimmunity settings and to prevent immunopathology while providing viral clearance in severe non-transplant COVID-19 cases.