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1.
Nat Immunol ; 24(6): 979-990, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2315011

ABSTRACT

Antiviral CD8+ T cell immunity depends on the integration of various contextual cues, but how antigen-presenting cells (APCs) consolidate these signals for decoding by T cells remains unclear. Here, we describe gradual interferon-α/interferon-ß (IFNα/ß)-induced transcriptional adaptations that endow APCs with the capacity to rapidly activate the transcriptional regulators p65, IRF1 and FOS after CD4+ T cell-mediated CD40 stimulation. While these responses operate through broadly used signaling components, they induce a unique set of co-stimulatory molecules and soluble mediators that cannot be elicited by IFNα/ß or CD40 alone. These responses are critical for the acquisition of antiviral CD8+ T cell effector function, and their activity in APCs from individuals infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 correlates with milder disease. These observations uncover a sequential integration process whereby APCs rely on CD4+ T cells to select the innate circuits that guide antiviral CD8+ T cell responses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Humans , Calibration , Antigen-Presenting Cells , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , CD40 Antigens , Interferon-alpha , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
2.
PLOS Digit Health ; 1(1): e0000007, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2256853

ABSTRACT

Global healthcare systems are challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need to optimize allocation of treatment and resources in intensive care, as clinically established risk assessments such as SOFA and APACHE II scores show only limited performance for predicting the survival of severely ill COVID-19 patients. Additional tools are also needed to monitor treatment, including experimental therapies in clinical trials. Comprehensively capturing human physiology, we speculated that proteomics in combination with new data-driven analysis strategies could produce a new generation of prognostic discriminators. We studied two independent cohorts of patients with severe COVID-19 who required intensive care and invasive mechanical ventilation. SOFA score, Charlson comorbidity index, and APACHE II score showed limited performance in predicting the COVID-19 outcome. Instead, the quantification of 321 plasma protein groups at 349 timepoints in 50 critically ill patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation revealed 14 proteins that showed trajectories different between survivors and non-survivors. A predictor trained on proteomic measurements obtained at the first time point at maximum treatment level (i.e. WHO grade 7), which was weeks before the outcome, achieved accurate classification of survivors (AUROC 0.81). We tested the established predictor on an independent validation cohort (AUROC 1.0). The majority of proteins with high relevance in the prediction model belong to the coagulation system and complement cascade. Our study demonstrates that plasma proteomics can give rise to prognostic predictors substantially outperforming current prognostic markers in intensive care.

3.
JCI Insight ; 8(8)2023 04 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2283975

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUNDAfter its introduction as standard-of-care for severe COVID-19, dexamethasone has been administered to a large number of patients globally. Detailed knowledge of its impact on the cellular and humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 remains scarce.METHODSWe included immunocompetent individuals with (a) mild COVID-19, (b) severe COVID-19 before introduction of dexamethasone treatment, and (c) severe COVID-19 infection treated with dexamethasone from prospective observational cohort studies at Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. We analyzed SARS-CoV-2 spike-reactive T cells, spike-specific IgG titers, and serum neutralizing activity against B.1.1.7 and B.1.617.2 in samples ranging from 2 weeks to 6 months after infection. We also analyzed BA.2 neutralization in sera after booster immunization.RESULTSPatients with severe COVID-19 and dexamethasone treatment had lower T cell and antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 compared with patients without dexamethasone treatment in the early phase of disease, which converged in both groups before 6 months after infection and also after immunization. Patients with mild COVID-19 had comparatively lower T cell and antibody responses than patients with severe disease, including a lower response to booster immunization during convalescence.CONCLUSIONDexamethasone treatment was associated with a short-term reduction in T cell and antibody responses in severe COVID-19 when compared with the nontreated group, but this difference evened out 6 months after infection. We confirm higher cellular and humoral immune responses in patients after severe versus mild COVID-19 and the concept of improved hybrid immunity upon immunization.FUNDINGBerlin Institute of Health, German Federal Ministry of Education, and German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices.


Subject(s)
Antibody Formation , COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , T-Lymphocytes , Immunization, Secondary , Dexamethasone/therapeutic use
4.
J Neuroinflammation ; 20(1): 30, 2023 Feb 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2234817

ABSTRACT

Patients with COVID-19 can have a variety of neurological symptoms, but the active involvement of central nervous system (CNS) in COVID-19 remains unclear. While routine cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analyses in patients with neurological manifestations of COVID-19 generally show no or only mild inflammation, more detailed data on inflammatory mediators in the CSF of patients with COVID-19 are scarce. We studied the inflammatory response in paired CSF and serum samples of patients with COVID-19 (n = 38). Patients with herpes simplex virus encephalitis (HSVE, n = 10) and patients with non-inflammatory, non-neurodegenerative neurological diseases (n = 28) served as controls. We used proteomics, enzyme-linked immunoassays, and semiquantitative cytokine arrays to characterize inflammatory proteins. Autoantibody screening was performed with cell-based assays and native tissue staining. RNA sequencing of long-non-coding RNA and circular RNA was done to study the transcriptome. Proteomics on single protein level and subsequent pathway analysis showed similar yet strongly attenuated inflammatory changes in the CSF of COVID-19 patients compared to HSVE patients with, e.g., downregulation of the apolipoproteins and extracellular matrix proteins. Protein upregulation of the complement system, the serpin proteins pathways, and other proteins including glycoproteins alpha-2 and alpha-1 acid. Importantly, calculation of interleukin-6, interleukin-16, and CXCL10 CSF/serum indices suggest that these inflammatory mediators reach the CSF from the systemic circulation, rather than being produced within the CNS. Antibody screening revealed no pathological levels of known neuronal autoantibodies. When stratifying COVID-19 patients into those with and without bacterial superinfection as indicated by elevated procalcitonin levels, inflammatory markers were significantly (p < 0.01) higher in those with bacterial superinfection. RNA sequencing in the CSF revealed 101 linear RNAs comprising messenger RNAs, and two circRNAs being significantly differentially expressed in COVID-19 than in non-neuroinflammatory controls and neurodegenerative patients. Our findings may explain the absence of signs of intrathecal inflammation upon routine CSF testing despite the presence of SARS-CoV2 infection-associated neurological symptoms. The relevance of blood-derived mediators of inflammation in the CSF for neurological COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 symptoms deserves further investigation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex , Superinfection , Humans , Proteome/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Superinfection/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Brain/metabolism , Inflammation/metabolism , Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex/cerebrospinal fluid , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism
5.
J Clin Immunol ; 42(6): 1111-1129, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1942304

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Six to 19% of critically ill COVID-19 patients display circulating auto-antibodies against type I interferons (IFN-AABs). Here, we establish a clinically applicable strategy for early identification of IFN-AAB-positive patients for potential subsequent clinical interventions. METHODS: We analyzed sera of 430 COVID-19 patients from four hospitals for presence of IFN-AABs by ELISA. Binding specificity and neutralizing activity were evaluated via competition assay and virus-infection-based neutralization assay. We defined clinical parameters associated with IFN-AAB positivity. In a subgroup of critically ill patients, we analyzed effects of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) on the levels of IFN-AABs, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and clinical outcome. RESULTS: The prevalence of neutralizing AABs to IFN-α and IFN-ω in COVID-19 patients from all cohorts was 4.2% (18/430), while being undetectable in an uninfected control cohort. Neutralizing IFN-AABs were detectable exclusively in critically affected (max. WHO score 6-8), predominantly male (83%) patients (7.6%, 18/237 for IFN-α-AABs and 4.6%, 11/237 for IFN-ω-AABs in 237 patients with critical COVID-19). IFN-AABs were present early post-symptom onset and at the peak of disease. Fever and oxygen requirement at hospital admission co-presented with neutralizing IFN-AAB positivity. IFN-AABs were associated with lower probability of survival (7.7% versus 80.9% in patients without IFN-AABs). TPE reduced levels of IFN-AABs in three of five patients and may increase survival of IFN-AAB-positive patients compared to those not undergoing TPE. CONCLUSION: IFN-AABs may serve as early biomarker for the development of severe COVID-19. We propose to implement routine screening of hospitalized COVID-19 patients for rapid identification of patients with IFN-AABs who most likely benefit from specific therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Autoantibodies , COVID-19/diagnosis , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Interferon-alpha/therapeutic use , Male , Oxygen , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Immunity ; 54(11): 2650-2669.e14, 2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442406

ABSTRACT

Longitudinal analyses of the innate immune system, including the earliest time points, are essential to understand the immunopathogenesis and clinical course of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Here, we performed a detailed characterization of natural killer (NK) cells in 205 patients (403 samples; days 2 to 41 after symptom onset) from four independent cohorts using single-cell transcriptomics and proteomics together with functional studies. We found elevated interferon (IFN)-α plasma levels in early severe COVD-19 alongside increased NK cell expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) and genes involved in IFN-α signaling, while upregulation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced genes was observed in moderate diseases. NK cells exert anti-SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) activity but are functionally impaired in severe COVID-19. Further, NK cell dysfunction may be relevant for the development of fibrotic lung disease in severe COVID-19, as NK cells exhibited impaired anti-fibrotic activity. Our study indicates preferential IFN-α and TNF responses in severe and moderate COVID-19, respectively, and associates a prolonged IFN-α-induced NK cell response with poorer disease outcome.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Interferon-alpha/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism , Base Sequence , Humans , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Inflammation/immunology , Interferon-alpha/blood , Pulmonary Fibrosis/pathology , RNA-Seq , Severity of Illness Index , Transcriptome/genetics , United Kingdom , United States
7.
EClinicalMedicine ; 40: 101099, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385454

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been increasing urgency to identify pathophysiological characteristics leading to severe clinical course in patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Human leukocyte antigen alleles (HLA) have been suggested as potential genetic host factors that affect individual immune response to SARS-CoV-2. We sought to evaluate this hypothesis by conducting a multicenter study using HLA sequencing. METHODS: We analyzed the association between COVID-19 severity and HLAs in 435 individuals from Germany (n = 135), Spain (n = 133), Switzerland (n = 20) and the United States (n = 147), who had been enrolled from March 2020 to August 2020. This study included patients older than 18 years, diagnosed with COVID-19 and representing the full spectrum of the disease. Finally, we tested our results by meta-analysing data from prior genome-wide association studies (GWAS). FINDINGS: We describe a potential association of HLA-C*04:01 with severe clinical course of COVID-19. Carriers of HLA-C*04:01 had twice the risk of intubation when infected with SARS-CoV-2 (risk ratio 1.5 [95% CI 1.1-2.1], odds ratio 3.5 [95% CI 1.9-6.6], adjusted p-value = 0.0074). These findings are based on data from four countries and corroborated by independent results from GWAS. Our findings are biologically plausible, as HLA-C*04:01 has fewer predicted bindings sites for relevant SARS-CoV-2 peptides compared to other HLA alleles. INTERPRETATION: HLA-C*04:01 carrier state is associated with severe clinical course in SARS-CoV-2. Our findings suggest that HLA class I alleles have a relevant role in immune defense against SARS-CoV-2. FUNDING: Funded by Roche Sequencing Solutions, Inc.

8.
Cell Syst ; 12(8): 780-794.e7, 2021 08 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1267622

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is highly variable in its clinical presentation, ranging from asymptomatic infection to severe organ damage and death. We characterized the time-dependent progression of the disease in 139 COVID-19 inpatients by measuring 86 accredited diagnostic parameters, such as blood cell counts and enzyme activities, as well as untargeted plasma proteomes at 687 sampling points. We report an initial spike in a systemic inflammatory response, which is gradually alleviated and followed by a protein signature indicative of tissue repair, metabolic reconstitution, and immunomodulation. We identify prognostic marker signatures for devising risk-adapted treatment strategies and use machine learning to classify therapeutic needs. We show that the machine learning models based on the proteome are transferable to an independent cohort. Our study presents a map linking routinely used clinical diagnostic parameters to plasma proteomes and their dynamics in an infectious disease.


Subject(s)
Biomarkers/analysis , COVID-19/pathology , Disease Progression , Proteome/physiology , Age Factors , Blood Cell Count , Blood Gas Analysis , Enzyme Activation , Humans , Inflammation/pathology , Machine Learning , Prognosis , Proteomics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
9.
Infection ; 49(4): 703-714, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198523

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Adequate patient allocation is pivotal for optimal resource management in strained healthcare systems, and requires detailed knowledge of clinical and virological disease trajectories. The purpose of this work was to identify risk factors associated with need for invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), to analyse viral kinetics in patients with and without IMV and to provide a comprehensive description of clinical course. METHODS: A cohort of 168 hospitalised adult COVID-19 patients enrolled in a prospective observational study at a large European tertiary care centre was analysed. RESULTS: Forty-four per cent (71/161) of patients required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Shorter duration of symptoms before admission (aOR 1.22 per day less, 95% CI 1.10-1.37, p < 0.01) and history of hypertension (aOR 5.55, 95% CI 2.00-16.82, p < 0.01) were associated with need for IMV. Patients on IMV had higher maximal concentrations, slower decline rates, and longer shedding of SARS-CoV-2 than non-IMV patients (33 days, IQR 26-46.75, vs 18 days, IQR 16-46.75, respectively, p < 0.01). Median duration of hospitalisation was 9 days (IQR 6-15.5) for non-IMV and 49.5 days (IQR 36.8-82.5) for IMV patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate a short duration of symptoms before admission as a risk factor for severe disease that merits further investigation and different viral load kinetics in severely affected patients. Median duration of hospitalisation of IMV patients was longer than described for acute respiratory distress syndrome unrelated to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Hypertension/complications , Kinetics , Prospective Studies , Respiration, Artificial , Risk Factors , Tertiary Care Centers , Time Factors , Viral Load , Virus Shedding
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