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1.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(3): e1010395, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1793483

ABSTRACT

Severe influenza kills tens of thousands of individuals each year, yet the mechanisms driving lethality in humans are poorly understood. Here we used a unique translational model of lethal H5N1 influenza in cynomolgus macaques that utilizes inhalation of small-particle virus aerosols to define mechanisms driving lethal disease. RNA sequencing of lung tissue revealed an intense interferon response within two days of infection that resulted in widespread expression of interferon-stimulated genes, including inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Macaques with lethal disease had rapid and profound loss of alveolar macrophages (AMs) and infiltration of activated CCR2+ CX3CR1+ interstitial macrophages (IMs) and neutrophils into lungs. Parallel changes of AMs and neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) correlated with virus load when compared to macaques with mild influenza. Both AMs and IMs in lethal influenza were M1-type inflammatory macrophages which expressed neutrophil chemotactic factors, while neutrophils expressed genes associated with activation and generation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs were prominent in lung and were found in alveolar spaces as well as lung parenchyma. Genes associated with pyroptosis but not apoptosis were increased in lung, and activated inflammatory caspases, IL-1ß and cleaved gasdermin D (GSDMD) were present in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung homogenates. Cleaved GSDMD was expressed by lung macrophages and alveolar epithelial cells which were present in large numbers in alveolar spaces, consistent with loss of epithelial integrity. Cleaved GSDMD colocalized with viral NP-expressing cells in alveoli, reflecting pyroptosis of infected cells. These novel findings reveal that a potent interferon and inflammatory cascade in lung associated with infiltration of inflammatory macrophages and neutrophils, elaboration of NETs and cell death by pyroptosis mediates lethal H5N1 influenza in nonhuman primates, and by extension humans. These innate pathways represent promising therapeutic targets to prevent severe influenza and potentially other primary viral pneumonias in humans.


Subject(s)
Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype , Orthomyxoviridae Infections , Animals , Interferons/immunology , Lung , Macrophages, Alveolar/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/immunology , Primates , Pyroptosis
2.
Immunity ; 54(3): 542-556.e9, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101300

ABSTRACT

A combination of vaccination approaches will likely be necessary to fully control the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Here, we show that modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vectors expressing membrane-anchored pre-fusion stabilized spike (MVA/S) but not secreted S1 induced strong neutralizing antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. In macaques, the MVA/S vaccination induced strong neutralizing antibodies and CD8+ T cell responses, and conferred protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection and virus replication in the lungs as early as day 2 following intranasal and intratracheal challenge. Single-cell RNA sequencing analysis of lung cells on day 4 after infection revealed that MVA/S vaccination also protected macaques from infection-induced inflammation and B cell abnormalities and lowered induction of interferon-stimulated genes. These results demonstrate that MVA/S vaccination induces neutralizing antibodies and CD8+ T cells in the blood and lungs and is a potential vaccine candidate for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Genetic Vectors/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/immunology , Vaccinia virus/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigens, Viral/genetics , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Disease Models, Animal , Gene Expression , Gene Order , Immunophenotyping , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Macaca , Macrophages, Alveolar/immunology , Macrophages, Alveolar/metabolism , Macrophages, Alveolar/pathology , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/metabolism , Vaccination/methods , Vaccines, DNA/genetics
3.
Cell ; 184(2): 460-475.e21, 2021 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-917237

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2-induced hypercytokinemia and inflammation are critically associated with COVID-19 severity. Baricitinib, a clinically approved JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor, is currently being investigated in COVID-19 clinical trials. Here, we investigated the immunologic and virologic efficacy of baricitinib in a rhesus macaque model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Viral shedding measured from nasal and throat swabs, bronchoalveolar lavages, and tissues was not reduced with baricitinib. Type I interferon (IFN) antiviral responses and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses remained similar between the two groups. Animals treated with baricitinib showed reduced inflammation, decreased lung infiltration of inflammatory cells, reduced NETosis activity, and more limited lung pathology. Importantly, baricitinib-treated animals had a rapid and remarkably potent suppression of lung macrophage production of cytokines and chemokines responsible for inflammation and neutrophil recruitment. These data support a beneficial role for, and elucidate the immunological mechanisms underlying, the use of baricitinib as a frontline treatment for inflammation induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Anti-Inflammatory Agents/administration & dosage , Azetidines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Macaca mulatta , Neutrophil Infiltration/drug effects , Purines/administration & dosage , Pyrazoles/administration & dosage , Sulfonamides/administration & dosage , Animals , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cell Death/drug effects , Cell Degranulation/drug effects , Disease Models, Animal , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/genetics , Inflammation/immunology , Janus Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , Lung/drug effects , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , Lymphocyte Activation/drug effects , Macrophages, Alveolar/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severity of Illness Index , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Virus Replication/drug effects
4.
J Virol ; 94(19)2020 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-852551

ABSTRACT

The newly emerged human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has caused a pandemic of respiratory illness. Current evidence suggests that severe cases of SARS-CoV-2 are associated with a dysregulated immune response. However, little is known about how the innate immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we modeled SARS-CoV-2 infection using primary human airway epithelial (pHAE) cultures, which are maintained in an air-liquid interface. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects and replicates in pHAE cultures and is directionally released on the apical, but not basolateral, surface. Transcriptional profiling studies found that infected pHAE cultures had a molecular signature dominated by proinflammatory cytokines and chemokine induction, including interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and CXCL8, and identified NF-κB and ATF-4 as key drivers of this proinflammatory cytokine response. Surprisingly, we observed a complete lack of a type I or III interferon (IFN) response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, pretreatment and posttreatment with type I and III IFNs significantly reduced virus replication in pHAE cultures that correlated with upregulation of antiviral effector genes. Combined, our findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 does not trigger an IFN response but is sensitive to the effects of type I and III IFNs. Our studies demonstrate the utility of pHAE cultures to model SARS-CoV-2 infection and that both type I and III IFNs can serve as therapeutic options to treat COVID-19 patients.IMPORTANCE The current pandemic of respiratory illness, COVID-19, is caused by a recently emerged coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. This virus infects airway and lung cells causing fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Severe cases of COVID-19 can result in lung damage, low blood oxygen levels, and even death. As there are currently no vaccines approved for use in humans, studies of the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection are urgently needed. Our research identifies an excellent system to model SARS-CoV-2 infection of the human airways that can be used to test various treatments. Analysis of infection in this model system found that human airway epithelial cell cultures induce a strong proinflammatory cytokine response yet block the production of type I and III IFNs to SARS-CoV-2. However, treatment of airway cultures with the immune molecules type I or type III interferon (IFN) was able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, our model system identified type I or type III IFN as potential antiviral treatments for COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Epithelial Cells/immunology , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Animals , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Bronchi/cytology , Bronchi/immunology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Cells, Cultured , Chemokines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Dogs , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Lung/cytology , Lung/immunology , Lung/virology , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
5.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-807103

ABSTRACT

Effective therapeutics aimed at mitigating COVID-19 symptoms are urgently needed. SARS-CoV-2 induced hypercytokinemia and systemic inflammation are associated with disease severity. Baricitinib, a clinically approved JAK1/2 inhibitor with potent anti-inflammatory properties is currently being investigated in COVID-19 human clinical trials. Recent reports suggest that baricitinib may also have antiviral activity in limiting viral endocytosis. Here, we investigated the immunologic and virologic efficacy of baricitinib in a rhesus macaque model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Viral shedding measured from nasal and throat swabs, bronchoalveolar lavages and tissues was not reduced with baricitinib. Type I IFN antiviral responses and SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell responses remained similar between the two groups. Importantly, however, animals treated with baricitinib showed reduced immune activation, decreased infiltration of neutrophils into the lung, reduced NETosis activity, and more limited lung pathology. Moreover, baricitinib treated animals had a rapid and remarkably potent suppression of alveolar macrophage derived production of cytokines and chemokines responsible for inflammation and neutrophil recruitment. These data support a beneficial role for, and elucidate the immunological mechanisms underlying, the use of baricitinib as a frontline treatment for severe inflammation induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection.

6.
Science ; 369(6508): 1210-1220, 2020 09 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-704393

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) represents a global crisis, yet major knowledge gaps remain about human immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We analyzed immune responses in 76 COVID-19 patients and 69 healthy individuals from Hong Kong and Atlanta, Georgia, United States. In the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of COVID-19 patients, we observed reduced expression of human leukocyte antigen class DR (HLA-DR) and proinflammatory cytokines by myeloid cells as well as impaired mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and interferon-α (IFN-α) production by plasmacytoid dendritic cells. By contrast, we detected enhanced plasma levels of inflammatory mediators-including EN-RAGE, TNFSF14, and oncostatin M-which correlated with disease severity and increased bacterial products in plasma. Single-cell transcriptomics revealed a lack of type I IFNs, reduced HLA-DR in the myeloid cells of patients with severe COVID-19, and transient expression of IFN-stimulated genes. This was consistent with bulk PBMC transcriptomics and transient, low IFN-α levels in plasma during infection. These results reveal mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 , Cytokines/blood , DNA, Bacterial/blood , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Dendritic Cells/metabolism , Female , Flow Cytometry , HLA-DR Antigens/analysis , Humans , Immunity , Immunity, Innate , Immunoglobulins/blood , Immunoglobulins/immunology , Inflammation Mediators/blood , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Lipopolysaccharides/blood , Male , Myeloid Cells/immunology , Myeloid Cells/metabolism , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction , Single-Cell Analysis , Systems Biology , TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases/metabolism , Transcription, Genetic , Transcriptome
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