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1.
J Hepatol ; 77(3): 653-659, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799844

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Autoimmune hepatitis episodes have been described following SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination but their pathophysiology remains unclear. Herein, we report the case of a 52-year-old male, presenting with bimodal episodes of acute hepatitis, each occurring 2-3 weeks after BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination. We sought to identify the underlying immune correlates. The patient received oral budesonide, relapsed, but achieved remission under systemic steroids. METHODS: Imaging mass cytometry for spatial immune profiling was performed on liver biopsy tissue. Flow cytometry was performed to dissect CD8 T-cell phenotypes and identify SARS-CoV-2-specific and EBV-specific T cells longitudinally. Vaccine-induced antibodies were determined by ELISA. Data were correlated with clinical laboratory results. RESULTS: Analysis of the hepatic tissue revealed an immune infiltrate quantitatively dominated by activated cytotoxic CD8 T cells with panlobular distribution. An enrichment of CD4 T cells, B cells, plasma cells and myeloid cells was also observed compared to controls. The intrahepatic infiltrate showed enrichment for CD8 T cells with SARS-CoV-2-specificity compared to the peripheral blood. Notably, hepatitis severity correlated longitudinally with an activated cytotoxic phenotype of peripheral SARS-CoV-2-specific, but not EBV-specific, CD8+ T cells or vaccine-induced immunoglobulins. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 vaccination can elicit a distinct T cell-dominant immune-mediated hepatitis with a unique pathomechanism associated with vaccination-induced antigen-specific tissue-resident immunity requiring systemic immunosuppression. LAY SUMMARY: Liver inflammation is observed during SARS-CoV-2 infection but can also occur in some individuals after vaccination and shares some typical features with autoimmune liver disease. In this report, we show that highly activated T cells accumulate and are evenly distributed in the different areas of the liver in a patient with liver inflammation following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Moreover, within the population of these liver-infiltrating T cells, we observed an enrichment of T cells that are reactive to SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that these vaccine-induced cells can contribute to liver inflammation in this context.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Hepatitis A , Hepatitis , Viral Vaccines , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Humans , Inflammation , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination/adverse effects , Vaccination/methods
2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-320978

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 can cause acute and chronic neurological symptoms. The underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, the involved immune cells, their spatial distribution, cellular interactions and the role of virus tropism remain largely unclear. Here, we deeply interrogated the brain stem and olfactory bulb in COVID-19 patients with imaging mass cytometry to understand the local immune response at a spatially resolved, high-dimensional single-cell level. We observed significant immune activation in the CNS and identified distinct phenotypes of T cells and microglial clusters, their presence in specific anatomical regions and context-specific cellular interactions. Microglial nodules and perivascular immune cell clusters constitute key sites of the local immune response, with viral antigen present in ACE2-expressing cells in the perivascular compartment. Disease-associated neuroinflammation is associated with astrogliosis and severe axonal damage as a structural basis for the neurologic deficits. Finally, we identify compartment- and cluster-specific immune checkpoints that can be targeted for future therapeutic interventions.Funding: This project was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, GermanResearch Foundation) (SFB 992, SFB1160, SFB/TRR167, SFB/TRR179, German Excellency strategyCIBSS - EXC-2189– Project ID390939984) and special research funds from the Ministry for Science, Research and Art of Baden-Wuerttemberg dedicated to “COVID-19 research” and “Neuroinflammation”.B.B. was further supported by DFG grant BE-5496/5-1 and M.P. was further supported by the Sobek Foundation, the Ernst-Jung Foundation, the Reinhart-Koselleck-Grant and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Prize.H.E.M. was supported by DFG ME-3644/5-1.Ethical Approval: The analyses were performed with the approval of the Institutional Review Boards (Ethic Committee of the Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg: 322/20, 10008/09;Ethics Committee of the Hamburg Chamber of Physicians: WF-051/20, PV7311). The study was performed in agreement with the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki (2013).Conflict of Interest: None to declare.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-306659

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 causes neurological symptoms that can be potentially life-threatening in up to 67 % of the patients. The underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of COVID-19 associated encephalopathy, the involved immune cells, their spatial distribution and their cellular interactions during disease remain largely unclear. In this study, we performed a 38-biomarker imaging mass cytometry analysis of the brain stem from 25 patients and additional controls to understand the local immune response during SARS-CoV-2 infection at a spatially resolved, high-dimensional single-cell level. Importantly, utilizing an unbiased image segmentation and cell classification pipeline, we observed a significant immune activation in the central nervous system (CNS) and identified novel context-specific CD8 T cell and microglial clusters. Spatially resolved single-cell analysis identified distinct phenotypes of T cells and microglial clusters, their presence in specific anatomical regions and their cellular interactions. Our analysis further highlights microglial nodules and perivascular immune cell clusters as key sites of the local immune response. It also demonstrates that disease-associated neuroinflammation is associated with severe axonal damage as a structural basis for the neurologic deficits. Finally, we identified compartment- and cluster-specific immune checkpoints that can be used for future therapeutic interventions.

4.
Acta Neuropathol ; 142(6): 923-936, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1459953

ABSTRACT

As extremely sensitive immune cells, microglia act as versatile watchdogs of the central nervous system (CNS) that tightly control tissue homeostasis. Therefore, microglial activation is an early and easily detectable hallmark of virtually all neuropsychiatric, neuro-oncological, neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases. The recent introduction of novel high-throughput technologies and several single-cell methodologies as well as advances in epigenetic analyses helped to identify new microglia expression profiles, enhancer-landscapes and local signaling cues that defined diverse previously unappreciated microglia states in the healthy and diseased CNS. Here, we give an overview on the recent developments in the field of microglia biology and provide a practical guide to analyze disease-associated microglia phenotypes in both the murine and human CNS, on several morphological and molecular levels. Finally, technical limitations, potential pitfalls and data misinterpretations are discussed as well.


Subject(s)
Microglia , Animals , Central Nervous System Diseases/pathology , Humans , Mice , Neuropathology , Phenotype
5.
Brain ; 144(4): 1263-1276, 2021 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313840

ABSTRACT

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, neurological symptoms increasingly moved into the focus of interest. In this prospective cohort study, we assessed neurological and cognitive symptoms in hospitalized coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) patients and aimed to determine their neuronal correlates. Patients with reverse transcription-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection who required inpatient treatment primarily because of non-neurological complications were screened between 20 April 2020 and 12 May 2020. Patients (age > 18 years) were included in our cohort when presenting with at least one new neurological symptom (defined as impaired gustation and/or olfaction, performance < 26 points on a Montreal Cognitive Assessment and/or pathological findings on clinical neurological examination). Patients with ≥2 new symptoms were eligible for further diagnostics using comprehensive neuropsychological tests, cerebral MRI and 18fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET as soon as infectivity was no longer present. Exclusion criteria were: premorbid diagnosis of cognitive impairment, neurodegenerative diseases or intensive care unit treatment. Of 41 COVID-19 inpatients screened, 29 patients (65.2 ± 14.4 years; 38% female) in the subacute stage of disease were included in the register. Most frequently, gustation and olfaction were disturbed in 29/29 and 25/29 patients, respectively. Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance was impaired in 18/26 patients (mean score 21.8/30) with emphasis on frontoparietal cognitive functions. This was confirmed by detailed neuropsychological testing in 15 patients. 18FDG PET revealed pathological results in 10/15 patients with predominant frontoparietal hypometabolism. This pattern was confirmed by comparison with a control sample using voxel-wise principal components analysis, which showed a high correlation (R2 = 0.62) with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance. Post-mortem examination of one patient revealed white matter microglia activation but no signs of neuroinflammation. Neocortical dysfunction accompanied by cognitive decline was detected in a relevant fraction of patients with subacute COVID-19 initially requiring inpatient treatment. This is of major rehabilitative and socioeconomic relevance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Cerebral Cortex/metabolism , Cognitive Dysfunction/metabolism , Glucose/metabolism , Mental Status and Dementia Tests , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/psychology , Cerebral Cortex/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/diagnostic imaging , Cognitive Dysfunction/psychology , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods , Male , Middle Aged , Positron-Emission Tomography/methods
6.
Immunity ; 54(7): 1594-1610.e11, 2021 07 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1281436

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 can cause severe neurological symptoms, but the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms are unclear. Here, we interrogated the brain stems and olfactory bulbs in postmortem patients who had COVID-19 using imaging mass cytometry to understand the local immune response at a spatially resolved, high-dimensional, single-cell level and compared their immune map to non-COVID respiratory failure, multiple sclerosis, and control patients. We observed substantial immune activation in the central nervous system with pronounced neuropathology (astrocytosis, axonal damage, and blood-brain-barrier leakage) and detected viral antigen in ACE2-receptor-positive cells enriched in the vascular compartment. Microglial nodules and the perivascular compartment represented COVID-19-specific, microanatomic-immune niches with context-specific cellular interactions enriched for activated CD8+ T cells. Altered brain T-cell-microglial interactions were linked to clinical measures of systemic inflammation and disturbed hemostasis. This study identifies profound neuroinflammation with activation of innate and adaptive immune cells as correlates of COVID-19 neuropathology, with implications for potential therapeutic strategies.


Subject(s)
Brain/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Microglia/immunology , Blood-Brain Barrier/immunology , Blood-Brain Barrier/metabolism , Blood-Brain Barrier/pathology , Brain/metabolism , Brain/pathology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Communication , Central Nervous System/immunology , Central Nervous System/metabolism , Central Nervous System/pathology , Humans , Immune Checkpoint Proteins/metabolism , Inflammation , Lymphocyte Activation , Multiple Sclerosis/immunology , Multiple Sclerosis/pathology , Olfactory Bulb/immunology , Olfactory Bulb/metabolism , Olfactory Bulb/pathology , Respiratory Insufficiency/immunology , Respiratory Insufficiency/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/metabolism
8.
Lancet Neurol ; 19(11): 919-929, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-813939

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Prominent clinical symptoms of COVID-19 include CNS manifestations. However, it is unclear whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, gains access to the CNS and whether it causes neuropathological changes. We investigated the brain tissue of patients who died from COVID-19 for glial responses, inflammatory changes, and the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the CNS. METHODS: In this post-mortem case series, we investigated the neuropathological features in the brains of patients who died between March 13 and April 24, 2020, in Hamburg, Germany. Inclusion criteria comprised a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and availability of adequate samples. We did a neuropathological workup including histological staining and immunohistochemical staining for activated astrocytes, activated microglia, and cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the olfactory bulb, basal ganglia, brainstem, and cerebellum. Additionally, we investigated the presence and localisation of SARS-CoV-2 by qRT-PCR and by immunohistochemistry in selected patients and brain regions. FINDINGS: 43 patients were included in our study. Patients died in hospitals, nursing homes, or at home, and were aged between 51 years and 94 years (median 76 years [IQR 70-86]). We detected fresh territorial ischaemic lesions in six (14%) patients. 37 (86%) patients had astrogliosis in all assessed regions. Activation of microglia and infiltration by cytotoxic T lymphocytes was most pronounced in the brainstem and cerebellum, and meningeal cytotoxic T lymphocyte infiltration was seen in 34 (79%) patients. SARS-CoV-2 could be detected in the brains of 21 (53%) of 40 examined patients, with SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins found in cranial nerves originating from the lower brainstem and in isolated cells of the brainstem. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the CNS was not associated with the severity of neuropathological changes. INTERPRETATION: In general, neuropathological changes in patients with COVID-19 seem to be mild, with pronounced neuroinflammatory changes in the brainstem being the most common finding. There was no evidence for CNS damage directly caused by SARS-CoV-2. The generalisability of these findings needs to be validated in future studies as the number of cases and availability of clinical data were low and no age-matched and sex-matched controls were included. FUNDING: German Research Foundation, Federal State of Hamburg, EU (eRARE), German Center for Infection Research (DZIF).


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Brain/pathology , Brain/virology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy/methods , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neuropathology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Transcriptome/genetics
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