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Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-360586

ABSTRACT

Our understanding of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) immune response is almost exclusively derived from studies that examined blood. To gain insight in the pulmonary immune response we analysed BALF samples and paired blood samples from 17 severe COVID-19 patients. Macrophages and T cells were the most abundant cells in BALF. In the lungs, both CD4 and CD8 T cells were predominantly effector memory cells and expressed higher levels of the exhaustion marker PD-1 than in peripheral blood. Prolonged ICU stay associated with a reduced proportion of activated T cells in peripheral blood and even more so in BALF. T cell activation in blood, but not in BALF, was higher in fatal COVID-19 cases. Increased levels of inflammatory mediators were more pronounced in BALF than in plasma. In conclusion, the bronchoalveolar immune response in COVID-19 has a unique local profile that strongly differs from the immune profile in peripheral blood. SummaryThe bronchoalveolar immune response in severe COVID-19 strongly differs from the peripheral blood immune profile. Fatal COVID-19 associated with T cell activation blood, but not in BALF.

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