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Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1961, 2021 03 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169399


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.

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
Adv Biol Regul ; 77: 100741, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-623932


Pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and poses an unprecedented challenge to healthcare systems due to the lack of a vaccine and specific treatment options. Accordingly, there is an urgent need to understand precisely the pathogenic mechanisms underlying this multifaceted disease. There is increasing evidence that the immune system reacts insufficiently to SARS-CoV-2 and thus contributes to organ damage and to lethality. In this review, we suggest that the overwhelming production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting in oxidative stress is a major cause of local or systemic tissue damage that leads to severe COVID-19. It increases the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and suppresses the adaptive arm of the immune system, i.e. T cells that are necessary to kill virus-infected cells. This creates a vicious cycle that prevents a specific immune response against SARS-CoV-2. The key role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 implies that therapeutic counterbalancing of ROS by antioxidants such as vitamin C or NAC and/or by antagonizing ROS production by cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS) and neutrophil granulocytes and/or by blocking of TNF-α can prevent COVID-19 from becoming severe. Controlled clinical trials and preclinical models of COVID-19 are needed to evaluate this hypothesis.

Antioxidants/therapeutic use , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Lymphopenia/epidemiology , Neutrophils/immunology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Acetylcysteine/therapeutic use , Ascorbic Acid/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Extracellular Traps/drug effects , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Lymphopenia/drug therapy , Lymphopenia/immunology , Lymphopenia/virology , NF-kappa B/genetics , NF-kappa B/immunology , Neutrophils/drug effects , Neutrophils/virology , Oxidative Stress/drug effects , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Reactive Oxygen Species/antagonists & inhibitors , Reactive Oxygen Species/immunology , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes/drug effects , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/virology