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1.
Front Immunol ; 13: 840126, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775673

ABSTRACT

Morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 is increased in patients with inborn errors of immunity (IEI). Age and comorbidities and also impaired type I interferon immunity were identified as relevant risk factors. In patients with primary antibody deficiency (PAD) and lack of specific humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2, clinical disease outcome is very heterogeneous. Despite extensive clinical reports, underlying immunological mechanisms are poorly characterized and levels of T cellular and innate immunity in severe cases remain to be determined. In the present study, we report clinical and immunological findings of 5 PAD patients with severe and fatal COVID-19 and undetectable specific humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Reactive T cells to SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) and nucleocapsid (NCAP) peptide pools were analyzed comparatively by flow cytometry in PAD patients, convalescents and naïve healthy individuals. All examined PAD patients developed a robust T cell response. The presence of polyfunctional cytokine producing activated CD4+ T cells indicates a memory-like phenotype. An analysis of innate immune response revealed elevated CD169 (SIGLEC1) expression on monocytes, a surrogate marker for type I interferon response, and presence of type I interferon autoantibodies was excluded. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detectable in peripheral blood in three severe COVID-19 patients with PAD. Viral clearance in blood was observed after treatment with COVID-19 convalescent plasma/monoclonal antibody administration. However, prolonged mucosal viral shedding was observed in all patients (median 67 days) with maximum duration of 127 days. PAD patients without specific humoral SARS-CoV-2 immunity may suffer from severe or fatal COVID-19 despite robust T cell and normal innate immune response. Intensified monitoring for long persistence of SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding and (prophylactic) convalescent plasma/specific IgG as beneficial treatment option in severe cases with RNAemia should be considered in seronegative PAD patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Immunization, Passive , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes
2.
J Transl Med ; 20(1): 138, 2022 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759761

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Fatigue, exertion intolerance and post-exertional malaise are among the most frequent symptoms of Post-COVID Syndrome (PCS), with a subset of patients fulfilling criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). As SARS-CoV-2 infects endothelial cells, causing endotheliitis and damaging the endothelium, we investigated endothelial dysfunction (ED) and endothelial biomarkers in patients with PCS. METHODS: We studied the endothelial function in 30 PCS patients with persistent fatigue and exertion intolerance as well as in 15 age- and sex matched seronegative healthy controls (HCs). 14 patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS. The other patients were considered to have PCS. Peripheral endothelial function was assessed by the reactive hyperaemia index (RHI) using peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT) in patients and HCs. In a larger cohort of patients and HCs, including post-COVID reconvalescents (PCHCs), Endothelin-1 (ET-1), Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), Endocan (ESM-1), IL-8, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) and ACE2 were analysed as endothelial biomarkers. RESULTS: Five of the 14 post-COVID ME/CFS patients and five of the 16 PCS patients showed ED defined by a diminished RHI (< 1.67), but none of HCs exhibited this finding. A paradoxical positive correlation of RHI with age, blood pressure and BMI was found in PCS but not ME/CFS patients. The ET-1 concentration was significantly elevated in both ME/CFS and PCS patients compared to HCs and PCHCs. The serum Ang-2 concentration was lower in both PCS patients and PCHCs compared to HCs. CONCLUSION: A subset of PCS patients display evidence for ED shown by a diminished RHI and altered endothelial biomarkers. Different associations of the RHI with clinical parameters as well as varying biomarker profiles may suggest distinct pathomechanisms among patient subgroups.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic , Biomarkers , COVID-19/complications , Endothelial Cells , Endothelium , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Medicina (Kaunas) ; 58(3)2022 Mar 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742544

ABSTRACT

Dyspnea, shortness of breath, and chest pain are frequent symptoms of post-COVID syndrome (PCS). These symptoms are unrelated to organ damage in most patients after mild acute COVID infection. Hyperventilation has been identified as a cause of exercise-induced dyspnea in PCS. Since there is a broad overlap in symptomatology with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), causes for dyspnea and potential consequences can be deduced by a stringent application of assumptions made for ME/CFS in our recent review papers. One of the first stimuli of respiration in exercise is caused by metabolic feedback via skeletal muscle afferents. Hyperventilation in PCS, which occurs early on during exercise, can arise from a combined disturbance of a poor skeletal muscle energetic situation and autonomic dysfunction (overshooting respiratory response), both found in ME/CFS. The exaggerated respiratory response aggravating dyspnea does not only limit the ability to exercise but further impairs the muscular energetic situation: one of the buffering mechanisms to respiratory alkalosis is a proton shift from intracellular to extracellular space via the sodium-proton-exchanger subtype 1 (NHE1), thereby loading cells with sodium. This adds to two other sodium loading mechanisms already operative, namely glycolytic metabolism (intracellular acidosis) and impaired Na+/K+ATPase activity. High intracellular sodium has unfavorable effects on mitochondrial calcium and metabolism via sodium-calcium-exchangers (NCX). Mitochondrial calcium overload by high intracellular sodium reversing the transport mode of NCX to import calcium is a key driver for fatigue and chronification. Prevention of hyperventilation has a therapeutic potential by keeping intracellular sodium below the threshold where calcium overload occurs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic , COVID-19/complications , Dyspnea/etiology , Exercise , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/etiology , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/therapy , Humans , Sodium
4.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1220, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735246

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 shares the feature of autoantibody production with systemic autoimmune diseases. In order to understand the role of these immune globulins in the pathogenesis of the disease, it is important to explore the autoantibody spectra. Here we show, by a cross-sectional study of 246 individuals, that autoantibodies targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) and RAS-related molecules associate with the clinical severity of COVID-19. Patients with moderate and severe disease are characterized by higher autoantibody levels than healthy controls and those with mild COVID-19 disease. Among the anti-GPCR autoantibodies, machine learning classification identifies the chemokine receptor CXCR3 and the RAS-related molecule AGTR1 as targets for antibodies with the strongest association to disease severity. Besides antibody levels, autoantibody network signatures are also changing in patients with intermediate or high disease severity. Although our current and previous studies identify anti-GPCR antibodies as natural components of human biology, their production is deregulated in COVID-19 and their level and pattern alterations might predict COVID-19 disease severity.


Subject(s)
Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled/immunology , Renin-Angiotensin System/immunology , Autoantibodies/blood , Autoimmunity , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/classification , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Machine Learning , Male , Multivariate Analysis , Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1/immunology , Receptors, CXCR3/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313936

ABSTRACT

A subset of patients has long-lasting symptoms after mild to moderate COVID-19. In a prospective observational cohort study we analysed clinical and laboratory parameters in 42 patients (29 female/13 male, median age 36.5 years) with persistent moderate to severe fatigue and exertion intolerance six months following COVID-19 referred to as Chronic COVID-19 Syndrome (CCS). Most patients were moderately to severely impaired in daily live. 19 patients fulfilled the 2003 Canadian Consensus Criteria for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome referred to as CFS/CCS. Hand grip strength (HGS) was diminished in most patients. Association of several biomarker with key symptoms of physical and mental fatigue and post exertional malaise indicate low level inflammation and hypoperfusion as potential pathomechanisms.

6.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295386

ABSTRACT

Patients affected by Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) show specific epigenetic and gene expression signatures of the disease. However, it is unknown whether these signatures include abnormal levels of the human angiotensin-converting enzymes, ACE and ACE2, the latter being the main receptor described for the host-cell invasion by SARS-CoV-2. To investigate that, we first re-analyzed available case-control epigenome-wide association studies based on DNA methylation data, and case-control gene expression studies based on microarray data. From these published studies, we found an association between ME/CFS and 4 potentially hypomethylated probes located in the ACE locus. We also found another disease association with one hypomethylated probe located in the transcription start site of ACE2. The same disease associations were obtained for women but not for men after performing sex-specific analyses. In contrast, a meta-analysis of gene expression levels could not provide evidence for a differentially expression of ACE and ACE2 in affected patients when compared to healthy controls. In line with this negative finding, the analysis of a new data set on the gene expression of ACE and ACE2 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells did not find any differences between a female cohort of 37 patients and 34 age-matched healthy controls. Future studies should be conducted to extend this investigation to other potential receptors used by SARS-CoV-2. These studies will help researchers and clinicians to improve the understanding of the health risk imposed by this virus when infecting patients affected by this debilitating disease.

7.
Pneumologie ; 75(11): 869-900, 2021 Nov.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1392935

ABSTRACT

The German Society of Pneumology initiated the AWMFS1 guideline Post-COVID/Long-COVID. In a broad interdisciplinary approach, this S1 guideline was designed based on the current state of knowledge.The clinical recommendation describes current post-COVID/long-COVID symptoms, diagnostic approaches, and therapies.In addition to the general and consensus introduction, a subject-specific approach was taken to summarize the current state of knowledge.The guideline has an expilcit practical claim and will be continuously developed and adapted by the author team based on the current increase in knowledge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pulmonary Medicine , COVID-19/complications , Consensus , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 687449, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1332119

ABSTRACT

Despite RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19, specific antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 spike are undetectable in serum in approximately 10% of convalescent patients after mild disease course. This raises the question of induction and persistence of SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in these convalescent individuals. Using flow cytometry, we assessed specific SARS-CoV-2 and human endemic coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, -OC43) reactive T cells after stimulation with spike and nucleocapsid peptide pools and analyzed cytokine polyfunctionality (IFNγ, TNFα, and IL-2) in seropositive and seronegative convalescent COVID-19 patients as well as in unexposed healthy controls. Stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid (NCAP) as well as HCoV spike peptide pools elicited a similar T cell response in seropositive and seronegative post COVID-19 patients. Significantly higher frequencies of polyfunctional cytokine nucleocapsid reactive CD4+ T cells (triple positive for IFNγ, TNFα, and IL-2) were observed in both, seropositive (p = 0.008) and seronegative (p = 0.04), COVID-19 convalescent compared to healthy controls and were detectable up to day 162 post RT-PCR positivity in seronegative convalescents. Our data indicate an important role of NCAP-specific T cells for viral control.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus 229E, Human/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adult , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Cells, Cultured , Convalescence , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Female , Humans , Lymphocyte Activation , Male , Middle Aged , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
9.
Heliyon ; 7(8): e07665, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330844

ABSTRACT

People with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) often report a high frequency of viral infections and flu-like symptoms during their disease course. Given that this reporting agrees with different immunological abnormalities and altered gene expression profiles observed in the disease, we aimed at answering whether the expression of the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the major cell entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2, is also altered in these patients. In particular, a low expression of ACE2 could be indicative of a high risk of developing COVID-19. We then performed a meta-analysis of public data on CpG DNA methylation and gene expression of this enzyme and its homologous ACE protein in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and related subsets. We found that patients with ME/CFS have decreased methylation levels of four CpG probes in the ACE locus (cg09920557, cg19802564, cg21094739, and cg10468385) and of another probe in the promoter region of the ACE2 gene (cg08559914). We also found a decreased expression of ACE2 but not of ACE in patients when compared to healthy controls. Accordingly, in newly collected data, there was evidence for a significant higher proportion of samples with an ACE2 expression below the limit of detection in patients than healthy controls. Altogether, patients with ME/CFS can be at a higher COVID-19 risk and, if so, they should be considered a priority group for vaccination by public health authorities. To further support this conclusion, similar research is recommended for other human cell entry receptors and cell types, namely, those cells targeted by the virus.

10.
Front Immunol ; 11: 628971, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083815

ABSTRACT

Clinical trials on the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma remain inconclusive. While data on safety is increasingly available, evidence for efficacy is still sparse. Subgroup analyses hint to a dose-response relationship between convalescent plasma neutralizing antibody levels and mortality. In particular, patients with primary and secondary antibody deficiency might benefit from this approach. However, testing of neutralizing antibodies is limited to specialized biosafety level 3 laboratories and is a time- and labor-intense procedure. In this single center study of 206 COVID-19 convalescent patients, clinical data, results of commercially available ELISA testing of SARS-CoV-2 spike-IgG and -IgA, and levels of neutralizing antibodies, determined by plaque reduction neutralization testing (PRNT), were analyzed. At a medium time point of 58 days after symptom onset, only 12.6% of potential plasma donors showed high levels of neutralizing antibodies (PRNT50 ≥ 1:320). Multivariable proportional odds logistic regression analysis revealed need for hospitalization due to COVID-19 (odds ratio 6.87; p-value 0.0004) and fever (odds ratio 3.00; p-value 0.0001) as leading factors affecting levels of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody titers in convalescent plasma donors. Using penalized estimation, a predictive proportional odds logistic regression model including the most important variables hospitalization, fever, age, sex, and anosmia or dysgeusia was developed. The predictive discrimination for PRNT50 ≥ 1:320 was reasonably good with AUC: 0.86 (with 95% CI: 0.79-0.92). Combining clinical and ELISA-based pre-screening, assessment of neutralizing antibodies could be spared in 75% of potential donors with a maximal loss of 10% of true positives (PRNT50 ≥ 1:320).


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Blood Donors , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Convalescence , Female , Fever , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Sex Factors , Young Adult
11.
Front Immunol ; 11: 607918, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1021890

ABSTRACT

The inability of patients with CVID to mount specific antibody responses to pathogens has raised concerns on the risk and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but there might be a role for protective T cells in these patients. SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells have been reported for SARS-CoV-2 unexposed healthy individuals. Until now, there is no data on T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection in CVID. This study aimed to evaluate reactive T cells to human endemic corona viruses (HCoV) and to study pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells in unexposed CVID patients. We evaluated SARS-CoV-2- and HCoV-229E and -OC43 reactive T cells in response to seven peptide pools, including spike and nucleocapsid (NCAP) proteins, in 11 unexposed CVID, 12 unexposed and 11 post COVID-19 healthy controls (HC). We further characterized reactive T cells by IFNγ, TNFα and IL-2 profiles. SARS-CoV-2 spike-reactive CD4+ T cells were detected in 7 of 11 unexposed CVID patients, albeit with fewer multifunctional (IFNγ/TNFα/IL-2) cells than unexposed HC. CVID patients had no SARS-CoV-2 NCAP reactive CD4+ T cells and less reactive CD8+ cells compared to unexposed HC. We observed a correlation between T cell reactivity against spike of SARS-CoV-2 and HCoVs in unexposed, but not post COVID-19 HC, suggesting cross-reactivity. T cell responses in post COVID-19 HC could be distinguished from unexposed HC by higher frequencies of triple-positive NCAP reactive CD4+ T cells. Taken together, SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells are detectable in unexposed CVID patients albeit with lower recognition frequencies and polyfunctional potential. Frequencies of triple-functional reactive CD4+ cells might provide a marker to distinguish HCoV cross-reactive from SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell responses. Our data provides evidence, that anti-viral T cell immunity is not relevantly impaired in most CVID patients.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Common Variable Immunodeficiency/immunology , Coronaviridae/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Aged , Common Variable Immunodeficiency/blood , Cross Reactions , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult
12.
Trends Microbiol ; 29(2): 92-97, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-957434

ABSTRACT

Despite the international guidelines on the containment of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the European scientific community was not sufficiently prepared to coordinate scientific efforts. To improve preparedness for future pandemics, we have initiated a network of nine European-funded Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Actions that can help facilitate inter-, multi-, and trans-disciplinary communication and collaboration.


Subject(s)
Biomedical Research/organization & administration , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Communication , Europe , Humans , Laboratory Personnel , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
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