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Cells ; 9(12)2020 12 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-971834


Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) leads to an adaptive immune response in the host and the formation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies. While IgG responses against SARS-CoV-2 have been characterized quite well, less is known about IgA. IgA2 activates immune cells and induces inflammation and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation which may contribute to organ injury and fatal outcome in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. SARS-CoV-2 spike protein specific antibody levels were measured in plasma samples of 15 noninfected controls and 82 SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with no or mild symptoms, moderate symptoms (hospitalization) or severe disease (intensive care unit, ICU). Antibody levels were compared to levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and circulating extracellular DNA (ecDNA) as markers for general inflammation and NET formation, respectively. While levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG were similar in all patient groups, IgA2 antibodies were restricted to severe disease and showed the strongest discrimination between nonfatal and fatal outcome in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. While anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA2 levels correlated with CRP levels in severely diseased patients, only anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgA2 correlated with ecDNA. These data suggest that the formation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgA2 during SARS-CoV-2 infection is a marker for more severe disease related to NET formation and poor outcome.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers/blood , C-Reactive Protein/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Case-Control Studies , Cell-Free Nucleic Acids/blood , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
EBioMedicine ; 58: 102925, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-701831


BACKGROUND: Coronavirus induced disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be complicated by severe organ damage leading to dysfunction of the lungs and other organs. The processes that trigger organ damage in COVID-19 are incompletely understood. METHODS: Samples were donated from hospitalized patients. Sera, plasma, and autopsy-derived tissue sections were examined employing flow cytometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and immunohistochemistry. PATIENT FINDINGS: Here, we show that severe COVID-19 is characterized by a highly pronounced formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) inside the micro-vessels. Intravascular aggregation of NETs leads to rapid occlusion of the affected vessels, disturbed microcirculation, and organ damage. In severe COVID-19, neutrophil granulocytes are strongly activated and adopt a so-called low-density phenotype, prone to spontaneously form NETs. In accordance, markers indicating NET turnover are consistently increased in COVID-19 and linked to disease severity. Histopathology of the lungs and other organs from COVID-19 patients showed congestions of numerous micro-vessels by aggregated NETs associated with endothelial damage. INTERPRETATION: These data suggest that organ dysfunction in severe COVID-19 is associated with excessive NET formation and vascular damage. FUNDING: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), EU, Volkswagen-Stiftung.

Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Microvessels/pathology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Thrombosis/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Endothelium, Vascular/pathology , Humans , Microvessels/metabolism , Neutrophils/pathology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Thrombosis/etiology , Thrombosis/pathology