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1.
J Infect Dis ; 224(Suppl 6): S647-S659, 2021 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559634

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and type II transmembrane serine protease (TMPRSS2), host molecules required for viral entry, may underlie sex differences in vulnerability to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. We investigated whether placental ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression vary by fetal sex in the presence of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: Placental ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression was quantified by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by Western blot in 68 pregnant women (38 SARS-CoV-2 positive, 30 SARS-CoV-2 negative) delivering at Mass General Brigham from April to June 2020. The impact of fetal sex and maternal SARS-CoV-2 exposure on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 was analyzed by 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). RESULTS: Maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection impacted placental TMPRSS2 expression in a sexually dimorphic fashion (2-way ANOVA interaction, P = .002). We observed no impact of fetal sex or maternal SARS-CoV-2 status on ACE2. TMPRSS2 expression was significantly correlated with ACE2 expression in males (Spearman ρ = 0.54, P = .02) but not females (ρ = 0.23, P = .34) exposed to maternal SARS-CoV-2. CONCLUSIONS: Sex differences in placental TMPRSS2 but not ACE2 were observed in the setting of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection, which may have implications for offspring vulnerability to placental infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnosis , Fetal Blood/immunology , Placenta/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Sex Factors , Adult , COVID-19/blood , Female , Fetal Blood/virology , Fetus/virology , Gene Expression , Humans , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Male , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology
2.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(617): eabi7428, 2021 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476378

ABSTRACT

There is a persistent bias toward higher prevalence and increased severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in males. Underlying mechanisms accounting for this sex difference remain incompletely understood. Interferon responses have been implicated as a modulator of COVID-19 disease in adults and play a key role in the placental antiviral response. Moreover, the interferon response has been shown to alter Fc receptor expression and therefore may affect placental antibody transfer. Here, we examined the intersection of maternal-fetal antibody transfer, viral-induced placental interferon responses, and fetal sex in pregnant women infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Placental Fc receptor abundance, interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression, and SARS-CoV-2 antibody transfer were interrogated in 68 human pregnancies. Sexually dimorphic expression of placental Fc receptors, ISGs and proteins, and interleukin-10 was observed after maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection, with up-regulation of these features in placental tissue of pregnant individuals with male fetuses. Reduced maternal SARS-CoV-2­specific antibody titers and impaired placental antibody transfer were also observed in pregnancies with a male fetus. These results demonstrate fetal sex-specific maternal and placental adaptive and innate immune responses to SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Female , Humans , Immunity , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Placenta , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Cell ; 184(3): 628-642.e10, 2021 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385216

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection causes more severe disease in pregnant women compared to age-matched non-pregnant women. Whether maternal infection causes changes in the transfer of immunity to infants remains unclear. Maternal infections have previously been associated with compromised placental antibody transfer, but the mechanism underlying this compromised transfer is not established. Here, we used systems serology to characterize the Fc profile of influenza-, pertussis-, and SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies transferred across the placenta. Influenza- and pertussis-specific antibodies were actively transferred. However, SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody transfer was significantly reduced compared to influenza- and pertussis-specific antibodies, and cord titers and functional activity were lower than in maternal plasma. This effect was only observed in third-trimester infection. SARS-CoV-2-specific transfer was linked to altered SARS-CoV-2-antibody glycosylation profiles and was partially rescued by infection-induced increases in IgG and increased FCGR3A placental expression. These results point to unexpected compensatory mechanisms to boost immunity in neonates, providing insights for maternal vaccine design.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Maternal-Fetal Exchange/immunology , Placenta/immunology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Trimester, Third/immunology , Receptors, IgG/immunology , THP-1 Cells
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