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1.
J Infect Dis ; 224(Suppl 6): S647-S659, 2021 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559634

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and type II transmembrane serine protease (TMPRSS2), host molecules required for viral entry, may underlie sex differences in vulnerability to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. We investigated whether placental ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression vary by fetal sex in the presence of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: Placental ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression was quantified by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by Western blot in 68 pregnant women (38 SARS-CoV-2 positive, 30 SARS-CoV-2 negative) delivering at Mass General Brigham from April to June 2020. The impact of fetal sex and maternal SARS-CoV-2 exposure on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 was analyzed by 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). RESULTS: Maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection impacted placental TMPRSS2 expression in a sexually dimorphic fashion (2-way ANOVA interaction, P = .002). We observed no impact of fetal sex or maternal SARS-CoV-2 status on ACE2. TMPRSS2 expression was significantly correlated with ACE2 expression in males (Spearman ρ = 0.54, P = .02) but not females (ρ = 0.23, P = .34) exposed to maternal SARS-CoV-2. CONCLUSIONS: Sex differences in placental TMPRSS2 but not ACE2 were observed in the setting of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection, which may have implications for offspring vulnerability to placental infection.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnosis , Fetal Blood/immunology , Placenta/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Sex Factors , Adult , COVID-19/blood , Female , Fetal Blood/virology , Fetus/virology , Gene Expression , Humans , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Male , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology
2.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(617): eabi7428, 2021 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476378

ABSTRACT

There is a persistent bias toward higher prevalence and increased severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in males. Underlying mechanisms accounting for this sex difference remain incompletely understood. Interferon responses have been implicated as a modulator of COVID-19 disease in adults and play a key role in the placental antiviral response. Moreover, the interferon response has been shown to alter Fc receptor expression and therefore may affect placental antibody transfer. Here, we examined the intersection of maternal-fetal antibody transfer, viral-induced placental interferon responses, and fetal sex in pregnant women infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Placental Fc receptor abundance, interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression, and SARS-CoV-2 antibody transfer were interrogated in 68 human pregnancies. Sexually dimorphic expression of placental Fc receptors, ISGs and proteins, and interleukin-10 was observed after maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection, with up-regulation of these features in placental tissue of pregnant individuals with male fetuses. Reduced maternal SARS-CoV-2­specific antibody titers and impaired placental antibody transfer were also observed in pregnancies with a male fetus. These results demonstrate fetal sex-specific maternal and placental adaptive and innate immune responses to SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Female , Humans , Immunity , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Placenta , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Cell ; 184(3): 628-642.e10, 2021 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385216

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection causes more severe disease in pregnant women compared to age-matched non-pregnant women. Whether maternal infection causes changes in the transfer of immunity to infants remains unclear. Maternal infections have previously been associated with compromised placental antibody transfer, but the mechanism underlying this compromised transfer is not established. Here, we used systems serology to characterize the Fc profile of influenza-, pertussis-, and SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies transferred across the placenta. Influenza- and pertussis-specific antibodies were actively transferred. However, SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody transfer was significantly reduced compared to influenza- and pertussis-specific antibodies, and cord titers and functional activity were lower than in maternal plasma. This effect was only observed in third-trimester infection. SARS-CoV-2-specific transfer was linked to altered SARS-CoV-2-antibody glycosylation profiles and was partially rescued by infection-induced increases in IgG and increased FCGR3A placental expression. These results point to unexpected compensatory mechanisms to boost immunity in neonates, providing insights for maternal vaccine design.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Maternal-Fetal Exchange/immunology , Placenta/immunology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Trimester, Third/immunology , Receptors, IgG/immunology , THP-1 Cells
4.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology ; 224(2):S568-S569, 2021.
Article in English | PMC | ID: covidwho-1384871

ABSTRACT

Objective: Sex differences in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection have been described. ACE2 and TMPRSS2, host cell receptors required for viral entry, are regulated by sex steroids and expressed by trophoblasts. Although vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is rare, how the placenta defends against SARS-CoV-2, and whether there is a sex bias in the risk of vertical transmission, is not well understood. We sought to investigate whether placental ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression vary by fetal sex in the presence of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection. Study Design: This is a cohort study of 66 pregnant women (37 SARS-CoV-2 exposed, 29 SARS-CoV-2 unexposed) enrolled on admission to Massachusetts General Hospital from April-June 2020, coincident with universal screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection. SARS-CoV-2 exposure status was determined by nasopharyngeal RT-PCR. Groups were balanced for fetal sex and maternal disease severity. RNA was isolated from placental homogenates and RTqPCR was performed to quantify expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 relative to the reference gene YWHAZ, using the 2-(DELTADELTACt) method. The impact of fetal sex and SARS-CoV-2 exposure on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression was analyzed by 2-way ANOVA. Previously determined placental viral loads showed no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in any placentas. Result(s): While there were no fetal sex or SARS-CoV-2 exposure-mediated differences in ACE2 expression (1A), we observed 1.73-fold increased TMPRSS2 expression in SARS-CoV-2 exposed placentas of female offspring compared to female controls (P=0.04, 1B), and 1.84 -fold reduced TMPRSS2 expression in SARS-CoV-2 exposed placentas of male offspring compared to male controls (P=0.0003, 1B). TMPRSS2 expression was significantly higher in placentas of male compared to female offspring in controls (P<0.0001). Conclusion(s): Sexually dimorphic patterns of TMPRSS2 placental gene expression were observed in the setting of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection, driven by sex differences in TMPRSS2 expression in controls. Implications of these findings for offspring vulnerability to vertical transmission warrants further investigation. [Formula presented]Copyright © 2020

5.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology ; 224(2, Supplement):S568-S569, 2021.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1056213
8.
JAMA Netw Open ; 3(12): e2030455, 2020 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-985883

ABSTRACT

Importance: Biological data are lacking with respect to risk of vertical transmission and mechanisms of fetoplacental protection in maternal severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Objective: To quantify SARS-CoV-2 viral load in maternal and neonatal biofluids, transplacental passage of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody, and incidence of fetoplacental infection. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study was conducted among pregnant women presenting for care at 3 tertiary care centers in Boston, Massachusetts. Women with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) results positive for SARS-CoV-2 were recruited from April 2 to June 13, 2020, and follow-up occurred through July 10, 2020. Contemporaneous participants without SARS-CoV-2 infection were enrolled as a convenience sample from pregnant women with RT-PCR results negative for SARS-CoV-2. Exposures: SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy, defined by nasopharyngeal swab RT-PCR. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcomes were SARS-CoV-2 viral load in maternal plasma or respiratory fluids and umbilical cord plasma, quantification of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in maternal and cord plasma, and presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the placenta. Results: Among 127 pregnant women enrolled, 64 with RT-PCR results positive for SARS-CoV-2 (mean [SD] age, 31.6 [5.6] years) and 63 with RT-PCR results negative for SARS-CoV-2 (mean [SD] age, 33.9 [5.4] years) provided samples for analysis. Of women with SARS-CoV-2 infection, 23 (36%) were asymptomatic, 22 (34%) had mild disease, 7 (11%) had moderate disease, 10 (16%) had severe disease, and 2 (3%) had critical disease. In viral load analyses among 107 women, there was no detectable viremia in maternal or cord blood and no evidence of vertical transmission. Among 77 neonates tested in whom SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were quantified in cord blood, 1 had detectable immunoglobuilin M to nucleocapsid. Among 88 placentas tested, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detected in any. In antibody analyses among 37 women with SARS-CoV-2 infection, anti-receptor binding domain immunoglobin G was detected in 24 women (65%) and anti-nucleocapsid was detected in 26 women (70%). Mother-to-neonate transfer of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was significantly lower than transfer of anti-influenza hemagglutinin A antibodies (mean [SD] cord-to-maternal ratio: anti-receptor binding domain immunoglobin G, 0.72 [0.57]; anti-nucleocapsid, 0.74 [0.44]; anti-influenza, 1.44 [0.80]; P < .001). Nonoverlapping placental expression of SARS-CoV-2 receptors angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and transmembrane serine protease 2 was noted. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, there was no evidence of placental infection or definitive vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Transplacental transfer of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was inefficient. Lack of viremia and reduced coexpression and colocalization of placental angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and transmembrane serine protease 2 may serve as protective mechanisms against vertical transmission.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Fetal Blood/immunology , Immunity, Maternally-Acquired/immunology , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical/statistics & numerical data , Placenta/metabolism , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Case-Control Studies , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Female , Fetal Blood/virology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Infant, Newborn , Influenza A virus/immunology , Male , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Placenta/pathology , Placenta/virology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/blood , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Load
9.
J Pediatr ; 227: 45-52.e5, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-872293

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: As schools plan for re-opening, understanding the potential role children play in the coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the factors that drive severe illness in children is critical. STUDY DESIGN: Children ages 0-22 years with suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection presenting to urgent care clinics or being hospitalized for confirmed/suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) at Massachusetts General Hospital were offered enrollment in the Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric COVID-19 Biorepository. Enrolled children provided nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, and/or blood specimens. SARS-CoV-2 viral load, ACE2 RNA levels, and serology for SARS-CoV-2 were quantified. RESULTS: A total of 192 children (mean age, 10.2 ± 7.0 years) were enrolled. Forty-nine children (26%) were diagnosed with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection; an additional 18 children (9%) met the criteria for MIS-C. Only 25 children (51%) with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection presented with fever; symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection, if present, were nonspecific. Nasopharyngeal viral load was highest in children in the first 2 days of symptoms, significantly higher than hospitalized adults with severe disease (P = .002). Age did not impact viral load, but younger children had lower angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 expression (P = .004). Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) to the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were increased in severe MIS-C (P < .001), with dysregulated humoral responses observed. CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals that children may be a potential source of contagion in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic despite having milder disease or a lack of symptoms; immune dysregulation is implicated in severe postinfectious MIS-C.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Age Factors , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Comorbidity , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pandemics , Severity of Illness Index , Viral Load , Young Adult
10.
BMC Med Res Methodol ; 20(1): 228, 2020 09 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-751240

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19, the disease caused by the highly infectious and transmissible coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has quickly become a morbid global pandemic. Although the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children is less clinically apparent, collecting high-quality biospecimens from infants, children, and adolescents in a standardized manner during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential to establish a biologic understanding of the disease in the pediatric population. This biorepository enables pediatric centers world-wide to collect samples uniformly to drive forward our understanding of COVID-19 by addressing specific pediatric and neonatal COVID-19-related questions. METHODS: A COVID-19 biospecimen collection study was implemented with strategic enrollment guidelines to include patients seen in urgent care clinics and hospital settings, neonates born to SARS-CoV-2 infected mothers, and asymptomatic children. The methodology described here, details the importance of establishing collaborations between the clinical and research teams to harmonize protocols for patient recruitment and sample collection, processing and storage. It also details modifications required for biobanking during a surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: Considerations and challenges facing enrollment of neonatal and pediatric cohorts are described. A roadmap is laid out for successful collection, processing, storage and database management of multiple pediatric samples such as blood, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs, sputum, saliva, tracheal aspirates, stool, and urine. Using this methodology, we enrolled 327 participants, who provided a total of 972 biospecimens. CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric biospecimens will be key in answering questions relating to viral transmission by children, differences between pediatric and adult viral susceptibility and immune responses, the impact of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on fetal development, and factors driving the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. The specimens in this biorepository will allow necessary comparative studies between children and adults, help determine the accuracy of current pediatric viral testing techniques, in addition to, understanding neonatal exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease abnormalities. The successful establishment of a pediatric biorepository is critical to provide insight into disease pathogenesis, and subsequently, develop future treatment and vaccination strategies.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Specimen Handling/methods , Adolescent , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Female , Fetal Development , Hospitalization , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2
11.
BMC Med Res Methodol ; 20(1): 215, 2020 08 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-730204

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Collection of biospecimens is a critical first step to understanding the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and newborns - vulnerable populations that are challenging to enroll and at risk of exclusion from research. We describe the establishment of a COVID-19 perinatal biorepository, the unique challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and strategies used to overcome them. METHODS: A transdisciplinary approach was developed to maximize the enrollment of pregnant women and their newborns into a COVID-19 prospective cohort and tissue biorepository, established on March 19, 2020 at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The first SARS-CoV-2 positive pregnant woman was enrolled on April 2, and enrollment was expanded to SARS-CoV-2 negative controls on April 20. A unified enrollment strategy with a single consent process for pregnant women and newborns was implemented on May 4. SARS-CoV-2 status was determined by viral detection on RT-PCR of a nasopharyngeal swab. Wide-ranging and pregnancy-specific samples were collected from maternal participants during pregnancy and postpartum. Newborn samples were collected during the initial hospitalization. RESULTS: Between April 2 and June 9, 100 women and 78 newborns were enrolled in the MGH COVID-19 biorepository. The rate of dyad enrollment and number of samples collected per woman significantly increased after changes to enrollment strategy (from 5 to over 8 dyads/week, P < 0.0001, and from 7 to 9 samples, P < 0.01). The number of samples collected per woman was higher in SARS-CoV-2 negative than positive women (9 vs 7 samples, P = 0.0007). The highest sample yield was for placenta (96%), umbilical cord blood (93%), urine (99%), and maternal blood (91%). The lowest-yield sample types were maternal stool (30%) and breastmilk (22%). Of the 61 delivered women who also enrolled their newborns, fewer women agreed to neonatal blood compared to cord blood (39 vs 58, P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Establishing a COVID-19 perinatal biorepository required patient advocacy, transdisciplinary collaboration and creative solutions to unique challenges. This biorepository is unique in its comprehensive sample collection and the inclusion of a control population. It serves as an important resource for research into the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and newborns and provides lessons for future biorepository efforts.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Patient Participation , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/diagnosis , Specimen Handling , Adult , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Pandemics , Patient Selection , Perinatal Care , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/psychology , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Res Sq ; 2020 Aug 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-724933

ABSTRACT

Background : COVID-19, the disease caused by the highly infectious and transmissible coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has quickly become a morbid global pandemic. Although the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children is less clinically apparent, collecting high-quality biospecimens from infants, children and adolescents in a standardized manner during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential to establish a biologic understanding of the disease in the pediatric population. This biorepository enables pediatric centers world-wide to collect samples in a standardized manner to drive forward our understanding of COVID-19 by addressing specific pediatric and neonatal COVID-19-related questions. Methods : A broad study was implemented with strategic enrollment guidelines to include patients seen in urgent care clinics and hospital settings, neonates born to SARS-CoV-2 infected mothers, and asymptomatic children. The methodology described here, details the importance of establishing collaborations between the clinical and research teams to harmonize protocols for patient recruitment and sample collection, processing and storage. Results : Considerations and challenges facing enrollment of neonatal and pediatric cohorts are described. A roadmap is laid out for successful collection, processing, storage and database management of multiple pediatric samples such as blood, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs, sputum, saliva, tracheal aspirates, stool, and urine. Using this methodology, we enrolled 327 participants, who provided a total of 972 biospecimens. Conclusions : Pediatric biospecimens will be key in answering questions relating to viral transmission by children, differences between pediatric and adult viral susceptibility, and, immune responses, the impact of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on fetal development, and factors driving the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. The specimens in this biorepository will allow necessary comparative studies between children and adults, help determine the accuracy of current pediatric viral testing techniques, in addition to, understanding neonatal exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease abnormalities. The successful establishment of a pediatric biorepository is critical to provide insight into disease pathogenesis, and subsequently, develop future treatment and vaccination strategies.

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