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1.
PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333706

ABSTRACT

RATIONALE: Asthma is associated with chronic changes in the airway epithelium, a key target of SARS-CoV-2. Many epithelial changes are driven by the type 2 cytokine IL-13, but the effects of IL-13 on SARS-CoV-2 infection are unknown. OBJECTIVES: We sought to discover how IL-13 and other cytokines affect expression of genes encoding SARS-CoV-2-associated host proteins in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) and determine whether IL-13 stimulation alters susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: We used bulk and single cell RNA-seq to identify cytokine-induced changes in SARS-CoV-2-associated gene expression in HBECs. We related these to gene expression changes in airway epithelium from individuals with mild-moderate asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We analyzed effects of IL-13 on SARS-CoV-2 infection of HBECs. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Transcripts encoding 332 of 342 (97%) SARS-CoV-2-associated proteins were detected in HBECs (>=1 RPM in 50% samples). 41 (12%) of these mRNAs were regulated by IL-13 (>1.5-fold change, FDR < 0.05). Many IL-13-regulated SARS-CoV-2-associated genes were also altered in type 2 high asthma and COPD. IL-13 pretreatment reduced viral RNA recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infected cells and decreased dsRNA, a marker of viral replication, to below the limit of detection in our assay. Mucus also inhibited viral infection. CONCLUSIONS: IL-13 markedly reduces susceptibility of HBECs to SARS-CoV-2 infection through mechanisms that likely differ from those activated by type I interferons. Our findings may help explain reports of relatively low prevalence of asthma in patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and could lead to new strategies for reducing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

2.
PubMed; 2020.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333583

ABSTRACT

While SARS-CoV-2 infection has pleiotropic and systemic effects in some patients, many others experience milder symptoms. We sought a holistic understanding of the severe/mild distinction in COVID-19 pathology, and its origins. We performed a whole-blood preserving single-cell analysis protocol to integrate contributions from all major cell types including neutrophils, monocytes, platelets, lymphocytes and the contents of serum. Patients with mild COVID-19 disease display a coordinated pattern of interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression across every cell population and these cells are systemically absent in patients with severe disease. Severe COVID-19 patients also paradoxically produce very high anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers and have lower viral load as compared to mild disease. Examination of the serum from severe patients demonstrates that they uniquely produce antibodies with multiple patterns of specificity against interferon-stimulated cells and that those antibodies functionally block the production of the mild disease-associated ISG-expressing cells. Overzealous and auto-directed antibody responses pit the immune system against itself in many COVID-19 patients and this defines targets for immunotherapies to allow immune systems to provide viral defense. ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: In severe COVID-19 patients, the immune system fails to generate cells that define mild disease;antibodies in their serum actively prevents the successful production of those cells.

3.
PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-297038

ABSTRACT

Secondary bacterial infections, including ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), lead to worse clinical outcomes and increased mortality following viral respiratory infections. Critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) face an elevated risk of VAP, although susceptibility varies widely. Because mechanisms underlying VAP predisposition remained unknown, we assessed lower respiratory tract host immune responses and microbiome dynamics in 36 patients, including 28 COVID-19 patients, 15 of whom developed VAP, and eight critically ill controls. We employed a combination of tracheal aspirate bulk and single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). Two days before VAP onset, a lower respiratory transcriptional signature of bacterial infection was observed, characterized by increased expression of neutrophil degranulation, toll-like receptor and cytokine signaling pathways. When assessed at an earlier time point following endotracheal intubation, more than two weeks prior to VAP onset, we observed a striking early impairment in antibacterial innate and adaptive immune signaling that markedly differed from COVID-19 patients who did not develop VAP. scRNA-seq further demonstrated suppressed immune signaling across monocytes/macrophages, neutrophils and T cells. While viral load did not differ at an early post-intubation timepoint, impaired SARS-CoV-2 clearance and persistent interferon signaling characterized the patients who later developed VAP. Longitudinal metatranscriptomic analysis revealed disruption of lung microbiome community composition in patients who developed VAP, providing a connection between dysregulated immune signaling and outgrowth of opportunistic pathogens. Together, these findings demonstrate that COVID-19 patients who develop VAP have impaired antibacterial immune defense weeks before secondary infection onset. One sentence summary: COVID-19 patients with secondary bacterial pneumonia have impaired immune signaling and lung microbiome changes weeks before onset.

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