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Nat Immunol ; 21(9): 1107-1118, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-710376


In coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, the relationship between disease severity and the host immune response is not fully understood. Here we performed single-cell RNA sequencing in peripheral blood samples of 5 healthy donors and 13 patients with COVID-19, including moderate, severe and convalescent cases. Through determining the transcriptional profiles of immune cells, coupled with assembled T cell receptor and B cell receptor sequences, we analyzed the functional properties of immune cells. Most cell types in patients with COVID-19 showed a strong interferon-α response and an overall acute inflammatory response. Moreover, intensive expansion of highly cytotoxic effector T cell subsets, such as CD4+ effector-GNLY (granulysin), CD8+ effector-GNLY and NKT CD160, was associated with convalescence in moderate patients. In severe patients, the immune landscape featured a deranged interferon response, profound immune exhaustion with skewed T cell receptor repertoire and broad T cell expansion. These findings illustrate the dynamic nature of immune responses during disease progression.

Antigens, CD/metabolism , Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Receptors, Immunologic/metabolism , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Antigens, CD/genetics , Antigens, CD/immunology , Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , GPI-Linked Proteins/genetics , GPI-Linked Proteins/immunology , GPI-Linked Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Interferon Type I/genetics , Interferon Type I/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA-Seq , Receptors, Immunologic/genetics , Receptors, Immunologic/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Single-Cell Analysis