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J Clin Med ; 11(3)2022 Jan 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667219


We previously reported higher ACE2 levels in smokers and patients with COPD. The current study investigates if patients with interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) such as IPF and LAM have elevated ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin levels, increasing their risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and development of COVID-19. Surgically resected lung tissue from IPF, LAM patients, and healthy controls (HC) was immunostained for ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin. Percentage ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin expression was measured in small airway epithelium (SAE) and alveolar areas using computer-assisted Image-Pro Plus 7.0 software. IPF and LAM tissue was also immunostained for myofibroblast marker α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and growth factor transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-ß1). Compared to HC, ACE2, TMPRSS2 and Furin expression were significantly upregulated in the SAE of IPF (p < 0.01) and LAM (p < 0.001) patients, and in the alveolar areas of IPF (p < 0.001) and LAM (p < 0.01). There was a significant positive correlation between smoking history and ACE2 expression in the IPF cohort for SAE (r = 0.812, p < 0.05) and alveolar areas (r = 0.941, p < 0.01). This, to our knowledge, is the first study to compare ACE2, TMPRSS2, and Furin expression in patients with IPF and LAM compared to HC. Descriptive images show that α-SMA and TGF-ß1 increase in the IPF and LAM tissue. Our data suggests that patients with ILDs are at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection and post-COVID-19 interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. Growth factors secreted by the myofibroblasts, and surrounding tissue could further affect COVID-19 adhesion proteins/cofactors and post-COVID-19 interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. Smoking seems to be the major driving factor in patients with IPF.

Immunity ; 54(5): 1066-1082.e5, 2021 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1216346


To better understand primary and recall T cell responses during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is important to examine unmanipulated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific T cells. By using peptide-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tetramers for direct ex vivo analysis, we characterized CD8+ T cells specific for SARS-CoV-2 epitopes in COVID-19 patients and unexposed individuals. Unlike CD8+ T cells directed toward subdominant epitopes (B7/N257, A2/S269, and A24/S1,208) CD8+ T cells specific for the immunodominant B7/N105 epitope were detected at high frequencies in pre-pandemic samples and at increased frequencies during acute COVID-19 and convalescence. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells in pre-pandemic samples from children, adults, and elderly individuals predominantly displayed a naive phenotype, indicating a lack of previous cross-reactive exposures. T cell receptor (TCR) analyses revealed diverse TCRαß repertoires and promiscuous αß-TCR pairing within B7/N105+CD8+ T cells. Our study demonstrates high naive precursor frequency and TCRαß diversity within immunodominant B7/N105-specific CD8+ T cells and provides insight into SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell origins and subsequent responses.

CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Amino Acid Motifs , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Child , Convalescence , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/chemistry , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/chemistry , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/chemistry , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/genetics , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
Clin Transl Immunology ; 10(1): e1242, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064341


Older individuals exhibit a diminished ability to respond to and clear respiratory pathogens and, as such, experience a higher rate of lung infections with a higher mortality rate. It is unclear why respiratory pathogens impact older people disproportionately. Using human lung tissue from donors aged 22-68 years, we assessed how the immune cell landscape in lungs changes throughout life and investigated how these immune cells respond following in vitro exposure to influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2, two clinically relevant respiratory viruses. While the frequency of most immune cell subsets profiled in the human lung remained stable with age, memory CD8+ T cells declined, with the tissue-resident memory (Trm) CD8+ T-cell subset being most susceptible to age-associated attrition. Infection of lung tissue with influenza virus resulted in an age-associated attenuation in the antiviral immune response, with aged donors producing less type I interferon (IFN), GM-CSF and IFNγ, the latter correlated with a reduction of IFNγ-producing memory CD8+ T cells. In contrast, irrespective of donor age, exposure of human lung cells to SARS-CoV-2, a pathogen for which all donors were immunologically naïve, did not trigger activation of local immune cells and did not result in the induction of an early IFN response. Our findings show that the attrition of tissue-bound pathogen-specific Trm in the lung that occurs with advanced age, or their absence in immunologically naïve individuals, results in a diminished early antiviral immune response which creates a window of opportunity for respiratory pathogens to gain a greater foothold.