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1.
Mol Ther ; 30(5): 1952-1965, 2022 May 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783847

ABSTRACT

For coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), effective and well-understood treatment options are still scarce. Since vaccine efficacy is challenged by novel variants, short-lasting immunity, and vaccine hesitancy, understanding and optimizing therapeutic options remains essential. We aimed at better understanding the effects of two standard-of-care drugs, dexamethasone and anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies, on infection and host responses. By using two COVID-19 hamster models, pulmonary immune responses were analyzed to characterize effects of single or combinatorial treatments. Pulmonary viral burden was reduced by anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment and unaltered or increased by dexamethasone alone. Dexamethasone exhibited strong anti-inflammatory effects and prevented fulminant disease in a severe disease model. Combination therapy showed additive benefits with both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory potency. Bulk and single-cell transcriptomic analyses confirmed dampened inflammatory cell recruitment into lungs upon dexamethasone treatment and identified a specifically responsive subpopulation of neutrophils, thereby indicating a potential mechanism of action. Our analyses confirm the anti-inflammatory properties of dexamethasone and suggest possible mechanisms, validate anti-viral effects of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment, and reveal synergistic effects of a combination therapy, thus informing more effective COVID-19 therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cricetinae , Dexamethasone/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Transcriptome
2.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327696

ABSTRACT

Cell-intrinsic responses mounted in vivo in PBMCs during mild and severe COVID-19 differ quantitatively and qualitatively. Whether they are triggered by signals emitted by productively infected cells of the respiratory tract or are, at least partially, resulting from physical interaction with virus particles, remains unclear. Here, we analyzed susceptibility and expression profiles of PBMCs from healthy donors upon ex vivo exposure to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. In line with the absence of detectable ACE2 receptor expression, human PBMCs were refractory to productive infection. Bulk and single cell RNA-sequencing revealed JAK/STAT-dependent induction of interferon-stimulated genes, but not pro-inflammatory cytokines. This SARS-CoV-2-specific response was most pronounced in monocytes. SARS-CoV-2-RNA-positive monocytes displayed a lower ISG signature as compared to bystander cells of the identical culture. This suggests a preferential invasion of cells with a low ISG base-line profile or delivery of a SARS-CoV-2-specific sensing antagonist upon efficient particle internalization. Together, non-productive physical interaction of PBMCs with SARS-CoV-2- but not SARS-CoV particles stimulates JAK/STAT-dependent, monocyte-accentuated innate immune responses that resemble those detected in vivo in patients with mild COVID-19.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-318102

ABSTRACT

In COVID-19, immune responses are key in determining disease severity. However, cellular mechanisms at the onset of inflammatory lung injury in SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly involving endothelial cells, remain ill-defined. Using Syrian hamsters as model for moderate COVID-19, we conducted a detailed longitudinal analysis of systemic and pulmonary cellular responses, and corroborated it with datasets from COVID-19 patients. Monocyte-derived macrophages in lungs exerted the earliest and strongest transcriptional response to infection, including induction of pro-inflammatory genes, while epithelial cells showed weak activation. Without evidence for productive infection, endothelial cells reacted, depending on cell subtypes, by strong and early expression of anti-viral, pro-inflammatory, and T cell recruiting genes. Recruitment of cytotoxic T cells as well as emergence of IgM antibodies preceded viral clearance at day 5 post infection. Investigating SARS-CoV-2 infected Syrian hamsters can thus identify cell type-specific effector functions, provide detailed insights into pathomechanisms of COVID-19, and inform therapeutic strategies.

4.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 2151-2168, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541485

ABSTRACT

Infection by (re-)emerging RNA arboviruses including Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Mayaro virus primarily cause acute febrile disease and transient polyarthralgia. However, in a significant subset of infected individuals, debilitating arthralgia persists for weeks over months up to years. The underlying immunopathogenesis of chronification of arthralgia upon primary RNA-viral infection remains unclear. Here, we analysed cell-intrinsic responses to ex vivo arthritogenic alphaviral infection of primary human synovial fibroblasts isolated from knee joints, one the most affected joint types during acute and chronic CHIKV disease. Synovial fibroblasts were susceptible and permissive to alphaviral infection. Base-line and exogenously added type I interferon (IFN) partially and potently restricted infection, respectively. RNA-seq revealed a CHIKV infection-induced transcriptional profile that comprised upregulation of expression of several hundred IFN-stimulated and arthralgia-mediating genes. Single-cell virus-inclusive RNA-seq uncovered a fine-tuned switch from induction to repression of cell-intrinsic immune responses depending on the abundance of viral RNA in an individual cell. Specifically, responses were most pronounced in cells displaying low-to-intermediate amounts of viral RNA and absence of virus-encoded, fluorescent reporter protein expression, arguing for efficient counteraction of innate immunity in cells expressing viral antagonists at sufficient quantities. In summary, cell-intrinsic sensing of viral RNA that potentially persists or replicates at low levels in synovial fibroblasts and other target cell types in vivo may contribute to the chronic arthralgia induced by alphaviral infections. Our findings might advance our understanding of the immunopathophysiology of long-term pathogenesis of RNA-viral infections.


Subject(s)
Arbovirus Infections/virology , Arboviruses/physiology , Arthralgia/virology , Immunity, Innate , RNA, Viral/genetics , Synovial Fluid/immunology , Arbovirus Infections/genetics , Arbovirus Infections/immunology , Arboviruses/genetics , Arthralgia/genetics , Arthralgia/immunology , Cells, Cultured , Fibroblasts/immunology , Fibroblasts/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Single-Cell Analysis , Synovial Fluid/cytology , Virus Replication
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4869, 2021 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354100

ABSTRACT

In COVID-19, immune responses are key in determining disease severity. However, cellular mechanisms at the onset of inflammatory lung injury in SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly involving endothelial cells, remain ill-defined. Using Syrian hamsters as a model for moderate COVID-19, we conduct a detailed longitudinal analysis of systemic and pulmonary cellular responses, and corroborate it with datasets from COVID-19 patients. Monocyte-derived macrophages in lungs exert the earliest and strongest transcriptional response to infection, including induction of pro-inflammatory genes, while epithelial cells show weak alterations. Without evidence for productive infection, endothelial cells react, depending on cell subtypes, by strong and early expression of anti-viral, pro-inflammatory, and T cell recruiting genes. Recruitment of cytotoxic T cells as well as emergence of IgM antibodies precede viral clearance at day 5 post infection. Investigating SARS-CoV-2 infected Syrian hamsters thus identifies cell type-specific effector functions, providing detailed insights into pathomechanisms of COVID-19 and informing therapeutic strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/immunology , Animals , Cricetinae , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Endothelial Cells/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Inflammation , Lung/immunology , Macrophages/immunology , Mesocricetus , Monocytes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Toll-Like Receptors/immunology
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