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Sci Rep ; 12(1): 5583, 2022 Apr 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1773994


Neutrophil-mediated secondary tissue injury underlies acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and progression to multi-organ-failure (MOF) and death, processes linked to COVID-19-ARDS. This secondary tissue injury arises from dysregulated neutrophils and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) intended to kill pathogens, but instead cause cell-injury. Insufficiency of pleiotropic therapeutic approaches delineate the need for inhibitors of dysregulated neutrophil-subset(s) that induce subset-specific apoptosis critical for neutrophil function-shutdown. We hypothesized that neutrophils expressing the pro-survival dual endothelin-1/VEGF-signal peptide receptor, DEspR, are apoptosis-resistant like DEspR+ cancer-cells, hence comprise a consequential pathogenic neutrophil-subset in ARDS and COVID-19-ARDS. Here, we report the significant association of increased peripheral DEspR+CD11b+ neutrophil-counts with severity and mortality in ARDS and COVID-19-ARDS, and intravascular NET-formation, in contrast to DEspR[-] neutrophils. We detect DEspR+ neutrophils and monocytes in lung tissue patients in ARDS and COVID-19-ARDS, and increased neutrophil RNA-levels of DEspR ligands and modulators in COVID-19-ARDS scRNA-seq data-files. Unlike DEspR[-] neutrophils, DEspR+CD11b+ neutrophils exhibit delayed apoptosis, which is blocked by humanized anti-DEspR-IgG4S228P antibody, hu6g8, in ex vivo assays. Ex vivo live-cell imaging of Rhesus-derived DEspR+CD11b+ neutrophils showed hu6g8 target-engagement, internalization, and induction of apoptosis. Altogether, data identify DEspR+CD11b+ neutrophils as a targetable 'rogue' neutrophil-subset associated with severity and mortality in ARDS and COVID-19-ARDS.

COVID-19 , Extracellular Traps , Respiratory Distress Syndrome , Humans , Immunophenotyping , Neutrophils
Nat Biotechnol ; 38(8): 970-979, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023942


To investigate the immune response and mechanisms associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on nasopharyngeal and bronchial samples from 19 clinically well-characterized patients with moderate or critical disease and from five healthy controls. We identified airway epithelial cell types and states vulnerable to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. In patients with COVID-19, epithelial cells showed an average three-fold increase in expression of the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor ACE2, which correlated with interferon signals by immune cells. Compared to moderate cases, critical cases exhibited stronger interactions between epithelial and immune cells, as indicated by ligand-receptor expression profiles, and activated immune cells, including inflammatory macrophages expressing CCL2, CCL3, CCL20, CXCL1, CXCL3, CXCL10, IL8, IL1B and TNF. The transcriptional differences in critical cases compared to moderate cases likely contribute to clinical observations of heightened inflammatory tissue damage, lung injury and respiratory failure. Our data suggest that pharmacologic inhibition of the CCR1 and/or CCR5 pathways might suppress immune hyperactivation in critical COVID-19.

Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Respiratory System/pathology , Single-Cell Analysis , Transcriptome , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19 , Cell Communication , Cell Differentiation , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Immune System/pathology , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/pathology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory System/immunology , Respiratory System/virology , Severity of Illness Index
Nat Biotechnol ; 39(6): 705-716, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-997913


In coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are major risk factors for critical disease progression. However, the underlying causes and the effects of the main anti-hypertensive therapies-angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)-remain unclear. Combining clinical data (n = 144) and single-cell sequencing data of airway samples (n = 48) with in vitro experiments, we observed a distinct inflammatory predisposition of immune cells in patients with hypertension that correlated with critical COVID-19 progression. ACEI treatment was associated with dampened COVID-19-related hyperinflammation and with increased cell intrinsic antiviral responses, whereas ARB treatment related to enhanced epithelial-immune cell interactions. Macrophages and neutrophils of patients with hypertension, in particular under ARB treatment, exhibited higher expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines CCL3 and CCL4 and the chemokine receptor CCR1. Although the limited size of our cohort does not allow us to establish clinical efficacy, our data suggest that the clinical benefits of ACEI treatment in patients with COVID-19 who have hypertension warrant further investigation.

COVID-19/drug therapy , Chemokine CCL3/genetics , Chemokine CCL4/genetics , Hypertension/drug therapy , Receptors, CCR1/genetics , Adult , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/administration & dosage , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/adverse effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/adverse effects , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Disease Progression , Female , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Hypertension/complications , Hypertension/genetics , Hypertension/pathology , Inflammation/complications , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/genetics , Inflammation/virology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA-Seq , Respiratory System/drug effects , Respiratory System/pathology , Respiratory System/virology , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Single-Cell Analysis