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2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316601

ABSTRACT

Background: Increased inflammation is a hallmark of COVID-19, with pulmonary and systemic inflammation identified in multiple cohorts of patients. Definitive cellular and molecular pathways driving severe forms of this disease remain uncertain. Neutrophils, the most numerous leukocytes in blood circulation, can contribute to immunopathology in infections, inflammatory diseases and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in COVID-19. Neutrophilia, elevated neutrophil:lymphocyte ratios, and elevated neutrophil-associated cytokines are present in COVID-19, but changes in neutrophil functions have not been characterized. Here we analyzed the functional state of circulating neutrophils in COVID-19.Methods: Blood was obtained from critically ill COVID-19 patients over two weeks and healthy controls across multiple timepoints. Plasma cytokine profiles were assessed by bead array. Neutrophils were isolated and tested ex vivo for oxidative burst, neutrophil extracellular trap formation (NETosis) and phagocytosis. Lung tissue was obtained immediately post-mortem from COVID-19 patients for immunostaining.Results: Elevations in neutrophil-associated cytokines IL-8 and IL-6 were identified in COVID-19 plasma both at the first measurement and across their hospitalization (p < 0.0001). Elevations in cytokines IP-10, GM-CSF, IL-1b, IL-10 and TNF were also present at the first measurement and across hospital stays. Functionally, circulating neutrophils from COVID-19 patients had exaggerated oxidative burst (p < 0.0001), NETosis (p < 0.0001) and phagocytosis (p < 0.0001) relative to controls. Increased NETosis was found to be correlated with both leukocytosis and neutrophilia in COVID-19 patients. Neutrophils and NETs were identified within airways and alveoli in lung parenchyma. While elevations in IL-8 and ANC correlated to COVID-19 disease severity, plasma IL-8 levels alone correlated with death.Conclusions: Circulating neutrophils in COVID-19 exhibit an activated phenotype with increased oxidative burst, NETosis and phagocytosis. Readily accessible and dynamic, plasma IL-8 and circulating neutrophil function can be explored as potential COVID-19 disease biomarkers.Funding Statement: This work was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (salary support and VA Merit Award, PI Crotty Alexander) and NIH NHLBI (PI Crotty Alexander).Declaration of Interests: The authors report no conflicts of interest.Ethics Approval Statement: The research protocol was approved by the UCSD, VASDHS and Rady Children’s Hospital institutional review boards (IRBs) and all participants or designated family member gave written informed consent.

3.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(3): 479-489, 2022 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684541

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Increased inflammation has been well defined in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), while definitive pathways driving severe forms of this disease remain uncertain. Neutrophils are known to contribute to immunopathology in infections, inflammatory diseases, and acute respiratory distress syndrome, a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in COVID-19. Changes in neutrophil function in COVID-19 may give insight into disease pathogenesis and identify therapeutic targets. METHODS: Blood was obtained serially from critically ill COVID-19 patients for 11 days. Neutrophil extracellular trap formation (NETosis), oxidative burst, phagocytosis, and cytokine levels were assessed. Lung tissue was obtained immediately postmortem for immunostaining. PubMed searches for neutrophils, lung, and COVID-19 yielded 10 peer-reviewed research articles in English. RESULTS: Elevations in neutrophil-associated cytokines interleukin 8 (IL-8) and interleukin 6, and general inflammatory cytokines IFN-inducible protien-19, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin 1ß, interleukin 10, and tumor necrosis factor, were identified both at first measurement and across hospitalization (P < .0001). COVID-19 neutrophils had exaggerated oxidative burst (P < .0001), NETosis (P < .0001), and phagocytosis (P < .0001) relative to controls. Increased NETosis correlated with leukocytosis and neutrophilia, and neutrophils and NETs were identified within airways and alveoli in lung parenchyma of 40% of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected lungs available for examination (2 of 5). While elevations in IL-8 and absolute neutrophil count correlated with disease severity, plasma IL-8 levels alone correlated with death. CONCLUSIONS: Literature to date demonstrates compelling evidence of increased neutrophils in the circulation and lungs of COVID-19 patients. Importantly, neutrophil quantity and activation correlates with severity of disease. Similarly, our data show that circulating neutrophils in COVID-19 exhibit an activated phenotype with enhanced NETosis and oxidative burst.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Extracellular Traps , Critical Illness , Humans , Neutrophil Activation , Neutrophils , Phenotype , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Front Physiol ; 12: 649604, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1268279

ABSTRACT

Conventional smoking is known to both increase susceptibility to infection and drive inflammation within the lungs. Recently, smokers have been found to be at higher risk of developing severe forms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). E-cigarette aerosol inhalation (vaping) has been associated with several inflammatory lung disorders, including the recent e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) epidemic, and recent studies have suggested that vaping alters host susceptibility to pathogens such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). To assess the impact of vaping on lung inflammatory pathways, including the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor known to be involved in SARS-CoV-2 infection, mice were exposed to e-cigarette aerosols for 60 min daily for 1-6 months and underwent gene expression analysis. Hierarchical clustering revealed extensive gene expression changes occurred in the lungs of both inbred C57BL/6 mice and outbred CD1 mice, with 2,933 gene expression changes in C57BL/6 mice, and 2,818 gene expression changes in CD1 mice (>abs 1.25-fold change). Particularly, large reductions in IgA and CD4 were identified, indicating impairment of host responses to pathogens via reductions in immunoglobulins and CD4 T cells. CD177, facmr, tlr9, fcgr1, and ccr2 were also reduced, consistent with diminished host defenses via decreased neutrophils and/or monocytes in the lungs. Gene set enrichment (GSE) plots demonstrated upregulation of gene expression related to cell activation specifically in neutrophils. As neutrophils are a potential driver of acute lung injury in COVID-19, increased neutrophil activation in the lungs suggests that vapers are at higher risk of developing more severe forms of COVID-19. The receptor through which SARS-CoV-2 infects host cells, ACE2, was found to have moderate upregulation in mice exposed to unflavored vape pens, and further upregulation (six-fold) with JUUL mint aerosol exposure. No changes were found in mice exposed to unflavored Mod device-generated aerosols. These findings suggest that specific vaping devices and components of e-liquids have an effect on ACE2 expression, thus potentially increasing susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. In addition, exposure to e-cigarette aerosols both with and without nicotine led to alterations in eicosanoid lipid profiles within the BAL. These data demonstrate that chronic, daily inhalation of e-cigarette aerosols fundamentally alters the inflammatory and immune state of the lungs. Thus, e-cigarette vapers may be at higher risk of developing infections and inflammatory disorders of the lungs.

5.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(3): 479-489, 2022 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1228461

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Increased inflammation has been well defined in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), while definitive pathways driving severe forms of this disease remain uncertain. Neutrophils are known to contribute to immunopathology in infections, inflammatory diseases, and acute respiratory distress syndrome, a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in COVID-19. Changes in neutrophil function in COVID-19 may give insight into disease pathogenesis and identify therapeutic targets. METHODS: Blood was obtained serially from critically ill COVID-19 patients for 11 days. Neutrophil extracellular trap formation (NETosis), oxidative burst, phagocytosis, and cytokine levels were assessed. Lung tissue was obtained immediately postmortem for immunostaining. PubMed searches for neutrophils, lung, and COVID-19 yielded 10 peer-reviewed research articles in English. RESULTS: Elevations in neutrophil-associated cytokines interleukin 8 (IL-8) and interleukin 6, and general inflammatory cytokines IFN-inducible protien-19, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin 1ß, interleukin 10, and tumor necrosis factor, were identified both at first measurement and across hospitalization (P < .0001). COVID-19 neutrophils had exaggerated oxidative burst (P < .0001), NETosis (P < .0001), and phagocytosis (P < .0001) relative to controls. Increased NETosis correlated with leukocytosis and neutrophilia, and neutrophils and NETs were identified within airways and alveoli in lung parenchyma of 40% of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected lungs available for examination (2 of 5). While elevations in IL-8 and absolute neutrophil count correlated with disease severity, plasma IL-8 levels alone correlated with death. CONCLUSIONS: Literature to date demonstrates compelling evidence of increased neutrophils in the circulation and lungs of COVID-19 patients. Importantly, neutrophil quantity and activation correlates with severity of disease. Similarly, our data show that circulating neutrophils in COVID-19 exhibit an activated phenotype with enhanced NETosis and oxidative burst.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Extracellular Traps , Critical Illness , Humans , Neutrophil Activation , Neutrophils , Phenotype , SARS-CoV-2
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