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1.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 37(5): 823-831, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685355

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Gut dysbiosis is associated with immune dysfunction and severity of COVID-19. Whether targeting dysbiosis will improve outcomes of COVID-19 is unknown. This study aimed to assess the effects of a novel gut microbiota-derived synbiotic formula (SIM01) as an adjuvant therapy on immunological responses and changes in gut microbiota of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. METHODS: This was an open-label, proof-of-concept study. Consecutive COVID-19 patients admitted to an infectious disease referral center in Hong Kong were given a novel formula of Bifidobacteria strains, galactooligosaccharides, xylooligosaccharide, and resistant dextrin (SIM01). The latter was derived from metagenomic databases of COVID-19 patients and healthy population. COVID-19 patients who were admitted under another independent infectious disease team during the same period without receiving SIM01 acted as controls. All patients received standard treatments for COVID-19 according to the hospital protocol. We assessed antibody response, plasma proinflammatory markers, nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 viral load, and fecal microbiota profile from admission up to week 5. RESULTS: Twenty-five consecutive COVID-19 patients received SIM01 for 28 days; 30 patients who did not receive the formula acted as controls. Significantly more patients receiving SIM01 than controls developed SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody (88% vs 63.3%; P = 0.037) by Day 16. One (4%) and 8 patients (26.7%) in the SIM01 and control group, respectively, failed to develop positive IgG antibody upon discharge. At week 5, plasma levels of interleukin (IL)-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and IL-1RA reduced significantly in the SIM01 but not in the control group. There was a significant negative correlation of nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 viral load and SIM01 intervention. Metagenomic analysis showed that bacterial species in SIM01 formula were found in greater abundance leading to enrichment of commensal bacteria and suppression of opportunistic pathogens in COVID-19 patients by week 4 and week 5. CONCLUSIONS: This proof-of-concept study suggested that the use of a novel gut microbiota-derived synbiotic formula, SIM01, hastened antibody formation against SARS-CoV-2, reduced nasopharyngeal viral load, reduced pro-inflammatory immune markers, and restored gut dysbiosis in hospitalised COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Gastrointestinal Microbiome , Synbiotics , Bacteria , COVID-19/therapy , Dysbiosis , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2
2.
J Clin Virol Plus ; 2(1): 100062, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616571

ABSTRACT

Objectives: Little is known whether differences exist in virus shedding, immune and inflammatory response related to SARS-CoV-2 in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLWH). We assessed viral RNA and cytokine profiles of HIV and SARS-CoV-2 coinfection in Hong Kong. Methods: PLWH hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 infection in Hong Kong were included, compared with age-matched and disease severity-matched SARS-CoV-2 infected controls (ratio of 1:5) from February 1st 2020 to July 31st 2020. SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed by public health laboratory and virus concentration was quantified by an in-house real-time reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction. A panel of cytokines and chemokines were performed. Results: HIV patients had a similar respiratory shedding profile compared to controls. Duration of faecal shedding of patient A, B, C and D were at least 9, 10, 33, and 11 days, respectively. HIV patients had lower plasma levels of IL-10 and NT-pro-BNP. All 4 PLWH cases showed seroconversion to SARS-CoV-2 with anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibodies detected in serum collected between day 18 and 30 after symptom onset. Conclusions: PLWH behaves similarly with HIV-negative controls in respiratory viral load, but with decrease in IL-10 and NT-proBNP. PLWH may have a lower risk of immunostimulatory effect due to lower IL-10.

3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 763292, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581338

ABSTRACT

The cytokine release syndrome has been proposed as the driver of inflammation in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, studies on longitudinal cytokine profiles in patients across the whole severity spectrum of COVID-19 are lacking. In this prospective observational study on adult COVID-19 patients admitted to two Hong Kong public hospitals, cytokine profiling was performed on blood samples taken during early phase (within 7 days of symptom onset) and late phase (8 to 12 days of symptom onset). The primary objective was to evaluate the difference in early and late cytokine profiles among patient groups with different disease severity. The secondary objective was to assess the associations between cytokines and clinical endpoints in critically ill patients. A total of 40 adult patients (mild = 8, moderate = 15, severe/critical = 17) hospitalized with COVID-19 were included in this study. We found 22 cytokines which were correlated with disease severity, as proinflammatory Th1-related cytokines (interleukin (IL)-18, interferon-induced protein-10 (IP-10), monokine-induced by gamma interferon (MIG), and IL-10) and ARDS-associated cytokines (IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), and IL-8) were progressively elevated with increasing disease severity. Furthermore, 11 cytokines were consistently different in both early and late phases, including seven (growth-regulated oncogene-alpha (GRO-α), IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IP-10, and MIG) that increased and four (FGF-2, IL-5, macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and MIP-1α) that decreased from mild to severe/critical patients. IL-8, followed by IP-10 and MDC were the best performing early biomarkers to predict disease severity. Among critically ill patients, MCP-1 predicted the duration of mechanical ventilation, highest norepinephrine dose administered, and length of intensive care stay.


Subject(s)
Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/blood , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/blood , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Hong Kong , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
4.
Gastroenterology ; 162(2): 548-561.e4, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475507

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with altered gut microbiota composition. Phylogenetic groups of gut bacteria involved in the metabolism of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were depleted in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. We aimed to characterize a functional profile of the gut microbiome in patients with COVID-19 before and after disease resolution. METHODS: We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing on fecal samples from 66 antibiotics-naïve patients with COVID-19 and 70 non-COVID-19 controls. Serial fecal samples were collected (at up to 6 times points) during hospitalization and beyond 1 month after discharge. We assessed gut microbial pathways in association with disease severity and blood inflammatory markers. We also determined changes of microbial functions in fecal samples before and after disease resolution and validated these functions using targeted analysis of fecal metabolites. RESULTS: Compared with non-COVID-19 controls, patients with COVID-19 with severe/critical illness showed significant alterations in gut microbiome functionality (P < .001), characterized by impaired capacity of gut microbiome for SCFA and L-isoleucine biosynthesis and enhanced capacity for urea production. Impaired SCFA and L-isoleucine biosynthesis in gut microbiome persisted beyond 30 days after recovery in patients with COVID-19. Targeted analysis of fecal metabolites showed significantly lower fecal concentrations of SCFAs and L-isoleucine in patients with COVID-19 before and after disease resolution. Lack of SCFA and L-isoleucine biosynthesis significantly correlated with disease severity and increased plasma concentrations of CXCL-10, NT- proB-type natriuretic peptide, and C-reactive protein (all P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Gut microbiome of patients with COVID-19 displayed impaired capacity for SCFA and L-isoleucine biosynthesis that persisted even after disease resolution. These 2 microbial functions correlated with host immune response underscoring the importance of gut microbial functions in SARS-CoV-2 infection pathogenesis and outcome.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/microbiology , Fatty Acids, Volatile/biosynthesis , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/genetics , Immunity/physiology , Isoleucine/biosynthesis , Adult , Biomarkers/blood , Case-Control Studies , Feces/microbiology , Female , Humans , Male , Metagenomics , Middle Aged , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
5.
Gut ; 70(4): 698-706, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024254

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Although COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness, there is mounting evidence suggesting that the GI tract is involved in this disease. We investigated whether the gut microbiome is linked to disease severity in patients with COVID-19, and whether perturbations in microbiome composition, if any, resolve with clearance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. METHODS: In this two-hospital cohort study, we obtained blood, stool and patient records from 100 patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Serial stool samples were collected from 27 of the 100 patients up to 30 days after clearance of SARS-CoV-2. Gut microbiome compositions were characterised by shotgun sequencing total DNA extracted from stools. Concentrations of inflammatory cytokines and blood markers were measured from plasma. RESULTS: Gut microbiome composition was significantly altered in patients with COVID-19 compared with non-COVID-19 individuals irrespective of whether patients had received medication (p<0.01). Several gut commensals with known immunomodulatory potential such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Eubacterium rectale and bifidobacteria were underrepresented in patients and remained low in samples collected up to 30 days after disease resolution. Moreover, this perturbed composition exhibited stratification with disease severity concordant with elevated concentrations of inflammatory cytokines and blood markers such as C reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transferase. CONCLUSION: Associations between gut microbiota composition, levels of cytokines and inflammatory markers in patients with COVID-19 suggest that the gut microbiome is involved in the magnitude of COVID-19 severity possibly via modulating host immune responses. Furthermore, the gut microbiota dysbiosis after disease resolution could contribute to persistent symptoms, highlighting a need to understand how gut microorganisms are involved in inflammation and COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Bacteria , COVID-19 , Dysbiosis , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/immunology , Gastrointestinal Tract , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Bacteria/genetics , Bacteria/immunology , Bacteria/isolation & purification , C-Reactive Protein/analysis , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/analysis , DNA, Bacterial/isolation & purification , Dysbiosis/epidemiology , Dysbiosis/etiology , Dysbiosis/immunology , Dysbiosis/virology , Female , Gastrointestinal Tract/immunology , Gastrointestinal Tract/microbiology , Gastrointestinal Tract/virology , Hong Kong , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Transferases/analysis
6.
Cell Death Dis ; 12(1): 53, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1015001

ABSTRACT

Interleukin-38 has recently been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in lung inflammatory diseases. However, the effects of IL-38 in viral pneumonia remains unknown. In the present study, we demonstrate that circulating IL-38 concentrations together with IL-36α increased significantly in influenza and COVID-19 patients, and the level of IL-38 and IL-36α correlated negatively and positively with disease severity and inflammation, respectively. In the co-cultured human respiratory epithelial cells with macrophages to mimic lung microenvironment in vitro, IL-38 was able to alleviate inflammatory responses by inhibiting poly(I:C)-induced overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines through intracellular STAT1, STAT3, p38 MAPK, ERK1/2, MEK, and NF-κB signaling pathways. Intriguingly, transcriptomic profiling revealed that IL-38 targeted genes were associated with the host innate immune response to virus. We also found that IL-38 counteracts the biological processes induced by IL-36α in the co-culture. Furthermore, the administration of recombinant IL-38 could mitigate poly I:C-induced lung injury, with reduced early accumulation of neutrophils and macrophages in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, activation of lymphocytes, production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and permeability of the alveolar-epithelial barrier. Taken together, our study indicates that IL-38 plays a crucial role in protection from exaggerated pulmonary inflammation during poly(I:C)-induced pneumonia, thereby providing the basis of a novel therapeutic target for respiratory viral infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Influenza, Human/metabolism , Interleukins/pharmacology , Pneumonia/prevention & control , Poly I-C/toxicity , Respiratory System/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/immunology , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Humans , Influenza A virus/isolation & purification , Influenza, Human/immunology , Influenza, Human/virology , Interleukin-1/blood , Interleukins/blood , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Pneumonia/chemically induced , Pneumonia/immunology , Pneumonia/pathology , Respiratory System/metabolism , Respiratory System/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
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