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1.
Kidney Int ; 102(6): 1359-1370, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2266747

ABSTRACT

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a major health issue, the outcome of which depends primarily on damage and reparative processes of tubular epithelial cells. Mechanisms underlying AKI remain incompletely understood, specific therapies are lacking and monitoring the course of AKI in clinical routine is confined to measuring urine output and plasma levels of filtration markers. Here we demonstrate feasibility and potential of a novel approach to assess the cellular and molecular dynamics of AKI by establishing a robust urine-to-single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) pipeline for excreted kidney cells via flow cytometry sorting. We analyzed 42,608 single cell transcriptomes of 40 urine samples from 32 patients with AKI and compared our data with reference material from human AKI post-mortem biopsies and published mouse data. We demonstrate that tubular epithelial cells transcriptomes mirror kidney pathology and reflect distinct injury and repair processes, including oxidative stress, inflammation, and tissue rearrangement. We also describe an AKI-specific abundant urinary excretion of adaptive progenitor-like cells. Thus, single cell transcriptomics of kidney cells excreted in urine provides noninvasive, unprecedented insight into cellular processes underlying AKI, thereby opening novel opportunities for target identification, AKI sub-categorization, and monitoring of natural disease course and interventions.


Subject(s)
Acute Kidney Injury , Humans , Mice , Animals , Acute Kidney Injury/pathology , Kidney/pathology , Biomarkers/urine , Oxidative Stress , Epithelial Cells/pathology
2.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 791, 2023 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2243508

ABSTRACT

Prolonged lung pathology has been associated with COVID-19, yet the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind this chronic inflammatory disease are poorly understood. In this study, we combine advanced imaging and spatial transcriptomics to shed light on the local immune response in severe COVID-19. We show that activated adventitial niches are crucial microenvironments contributing to the orchestration of prolonged lung immunopathology. Up-regulation of the chemokines CCL21 and CCL18 associates to endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition and tissue fibrosis within these niches. CCL21 over-expression additionally links to the local accumulation of T cells expressing the cognate receptor CCR7. These T cells are imprinted with an exhausted phenotype and form lymphoid aggregates that can organize in ectopic lymphoid structures. Our work proposes immune-stromal interaction mechanisms promoting a self-sustained and non-resolving local immune response that extends beyond active viral infection and perpetuates tissue remodeling.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chemokine CCL21 , Chemokines, CC , Humans , COVID-19/immunology , Fibrosis , Lung , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
3.
Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev ; 25: 52-73, 2022 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702408

ABSTRACT

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.

4.
Nature ; 600(7888): 295-301, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626235

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes COVID-19. Given its acute and often self-limiting course, it is likely that components of the innate immune system play a central part in controlling virus replication and determining clinical outcome. Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes with notable activity against a broad range of viruses, including RNA viruses1,2. NK cell function may be altered during COVID-19 despite increased representation of NK cells with an activated and adaptive phenotype3,4. Here we show that a decline in viral load in COVID-19 correlates with NK cell status and that NK cells can control SARS-CoV-2 replication by recognizing infected target cells. In severe COVID-19, NK cells show defects in virus control, cytokine production and cell-mediated cytotoxicity despite high expression of cytotoxic effector molecules. Single-cell RNA sequencing of NK cells over the time course of the COVID-19 disease spectrum reveals a distinct gene expression signature. Transcriptional networks of interferon-driven NK cell activation are superimposed by a dominant transforming growth factor-ß (TGFß) response signature, with reduced expression of genes related to cell-cell adhesion, granule exocytosis and cell-mediated cytotoxicity. In severe COVID-19, serum levels of TGFß peak during the first two weeks of infection, and serum obtained from these patients severely inhibits NK cell function in a TGFß-dependent manner. Our data reveal that an untimely production of TGFß is a hallmark of severe COVID-19 and may inhibit NK cell function and early control of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transforming Growth Factor beta/immunology , Atlases as Topic , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Influenza, Human/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , RNA-Seq , Single-Cell Analysis , Time Factors , Transforming Growth Factor beta/blood , Viral Load/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology
5.
Arthritis Rheumatol ; 74(6): 934-947, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1589171

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases receiving rituximab (RTX) therapy are at higher risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes and show substantially impaired humoral immune response to anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. However, the complex relationship between antigen-specific B cells and T cells and the level of B cell repopulation necessary to achieve anti-vaccine responses remain largely unknown. METHODS: Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and induction of antigen-specific B and CD4/CD8 T cell subsets were studied in 19 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis receiving RTX, 12 patients with RA receiving other therapies, and 30 healthy controls after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination with either messenger RNA or vector-based vaccines. RESULTS: A minimum of 10 B cells per microliter (0.4% of lymphocytes) in the peripheral circulation appeared to be required for RTX-treated patients to mount seroconversion to anti-S1 IgG upon SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. RTX-treated patients who lacked IgG seroconversion showed reduced receptor-binding domain-positive B cells (P = 0.0005), a lower frequency of Tfh-like cells (P = 0.0481), as well as fewer activated CD4 (P = 0.0036) and CD8 T cells (P = 0.0308) compared to RTX-treated patients who achieved IgG seroconversion. Functionally relevant B cell depletion resulted in impaired interferon-γ secretion by spike-specific CD4 T cells (P = 0.0112, r = 0.5342). In contrast, antigen-specific CD8 T cells were reduced in both RA patients and RTX-treated patients, independently of IgG formation. CONCLUSION: In RTX-treated patients, a minimum of 10 B cells per microliter in the peripheral circulation is a candidate biomarker for a high likelihood of an appropriate cellular and humoral response after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Mechanistically, the data emphasize the crucial role of costimulatory B cell functions for the proper induction of CD4 responses propagating vaccine-specific B cell and plasma cell differentiation.


Subject(s)
Arthritis, Rheumatoid , COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Cell Count , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Immunoglobulin G , Rituximab/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination/methods
6.
Sci Immunol ; 6(60)2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1369380

ABSTRACT

Patients with kidney failure are at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection making effective vaccinations a critical need. It is not known how well mRNA vaccines induce B and plasma cell responses in dialysis patients (DP) or kidney transplant recipients (KTR) compared to healthy controls (HC). We studied humoral and B cell responses of 35 HC, 44 DP and 40 KTR. Markedly impaired anti-BNT162b2 responses were identified among KTR and DP compared to HC. In DP, the response was delayed (3-4 weeks after boost) and reduced with anti-S1 IgG and IgA positivity in 70.5% and 68.2%, respectively. In contrast, KTR did not develop IgG responses except one patient who had a prior unrecognized infection and developed anti-S1 IgG. The majority of antigen-specific B cells (RBD+) were identified in the plasmablast or post-switch memory B cell compartments in HC, whereas RBD+ B cells were enriched among pre-switch and naïve B cells from DP and KTR. The frequency and absolute number of antigen-specific circulating plasmablasts in the cohort correlated with the Ig response, a characteristic not reported for other vaccinations. In conclusion, these data indicated that immunosuppression resulted in impaired protective immunity after mRNA vaccination, including Ig induction with corresponding generation of plasmablasts and memory B cells. Thus, there is an urgent need to improve vaccination protocols in patients after kidney transplantation or on chronic dialysis.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunocompromised Host , Kidney Transplantation , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/drug effects , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Renal Dialysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Transplant Recipients
7.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1961, 2021 03 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169399

ABSTRACT

The pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 reflects an inefficient immune reaction to SARS-CoV-2. Here we analyze, at the single cell level, plasmablasts egressed into the blood to study the dynamics of adaptive immune response in COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care. Before seroconversion in response to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, peripheral plasmablasts display a type 1 interferon-induced gene expression signature; however, following seroconversion, plasmablasts lose this signature, express instead gene signatures induced by IL-21 and TGF-ß, and produce mostly IgG1 and IgA1. In the sustained immune reaction from COVID-19 patients, plasmablasts shift to the expression of IgA2, thereby reflecting an instruction by TGF-ß. Despite their continued presence in the blood, plasmablasts are not found in the lungs of deceased COVID-19 patients, nor does patient IgA2 binds to the dominant antigens of SARS-CoV-2. Our results thus suggest that, in severe COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 triggers a chronic immune reaction that is instructed by TGF-ß, and is distracted from itself.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transforming Growth Factor beta/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Interleukins/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Plasma Cells/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
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