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Front Immunol ; 12: 720090, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374235


Male sex and old age are risk factors for COVID-19 severity, but the underlying causes are unknown. A possible explanation for this might be the differences in immunological profiles in males and the elderly before the infection. With this in mind, we analyzed the abundance of circulating proteins and immune populations associated with severe COVID-19 in 2 healthy cohorts. Besides, given the seasonal profile of COVID-19, the seasonal response against SARS-CoV-2 could also be different in the elderly and males. Therefore, PBMCs of female, male, young, and old subjects in different seasons of the year were stimulated with heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 to investigate the season-dependent anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune response. We found that several T cell subsets, which are known to be depleted in severe COVID-19 patients, were intrinsically less abundant in men and older individuals. Plasma proteins increasing with disease severity, including HGF, IL-8, and MCP-1, were more abundant in the elderly and males. Upon in vitro SARS-CoV-2 stimulation, the elderly produced significantly more IL-1RA and had a dysregulated IFNγ response with lower production in the fall compared with young individuals. Our results suggest that the immune characteristics of severe COVID-19, described by a differential abundance of immune cells and circulating inflammatory proteins, are intrinsically present in healthy men and the elderly. This might explain the susceptibility of men and the elderly to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

COVID-19/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aging/immunology , Blood Proteins/immunology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cohort Studies , Disease Susceptibility , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunologic Factors , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acuity , Risk Assessment , Seasons , Sex Factors , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Young Adult
Blood ; 136(10): 1169-1179, 2020 09 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-748867


COVID-19 affects millions of patients worldwide, with clinical presentation ranging from isolated thrombosis to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) requiring ventilator support. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) originate from decondensed chromatin released to immobilize pathogens, and they can trigger immunothrombosis. We studied the connection between NETs and COVID-19 severity and progression. We conducted a prospective cohort study of COVID-19 patients (n = 33) and age- and sex-matched controls (n = 17). We measured plasma myeloperoxidase (MPO)-DNA complexes (NETs), platelet factor 4, RANTES, and selected cytokines. Three COVID-19 lung autopsies were examined for NETs and platelet involvement. We assessed NET formation ex vivo in COVID-19 neutrophils and in healthy neutrophils incubated with COVID-19 plasma. We also tested the ability of neonatal NET-inhibitory factor (nNIF) to block NET formation induced by COVID-19 plasma. Plasma MPO-DNA complexes increased in COVID-19, with intubation (P < .0001) and death (P < .0005) as outcome. Illness severity correlated directly with plasma MPO-DNA complexes (P = .0360), whereas Pao2/fraction of inspired oxygen correlated inversely (P = .0340). Soluble and cellular factors triggering NETs were significantly increased in COVID-19, and pulmonary autopsies confirmed NET-containing microthrombi with neutrophil-platelet infiltration. Finally, COVID-19 neutrophils ex vivo displayed excessive NETs at baseline, and COVID-19 plasma triggered NET formation, which was blocked by nNIF. Thus, NETs triggering immunothrombosis may, in part, explain the prothrombotic clinical presentations in COVID-19, and NETs may represent targets for therapeutic intervention.

Coronavirus Infections/complications , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Thrombosis/complications , Adult , Aged , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Blood Platelets/immunology , Blood Platelets/pathology , Blood Proteins/immunology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neutrophil Infiltration , Neutrophils/pathology , Pandemics , Peroxidase/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/immunology , Thrombosis/pathology
Mol Cell Proteomics ; 19(11): 1749-1759, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-713514


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious infection and threating the human lives in the world. The elevation of cytokines in blood is crucial to induce cytokine storm and immunosuppression in the transition of severity in COVID-19 patients. However, the comprehensive changes of serum proteins in COVID-19 patients throughout the SARS-CoV-2 infection is unknown. In this work, we developed a high-density antibody microarray and performed an in-depth proteomics analysis of serum samples collected from early COVID-19 (n = 15) and influenza (n = 13) patients. We identified a large set of differentially expressed proteins (n = 132) that participate in a landscape of inflammation and immune signaling related to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Furthermore, the significant correlations of neutrophil and lymphocyte with the CCL2 and CXCL10 mediated cytokine signaling pathways was identified. These information are valuable for the understanding of COVID-19 pathogenesis, identification of biomarkers and development of the optimal anti-inflammation therapy.

Blood Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Cough/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Fever/immunology , Headache/immunology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Myalgia/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Blood Proteins/genetics , COVID-19 , Child , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cough/genetics , Cough/physiopathology , Cough/virology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/genetics , Cytokine Release Syndrome/physiopathology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/virology , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Fever/genetics , Fever/physiopathology , Fever/virology , Gene Expression Profiling , Gene Expression Regulation , Headache/genetics , Headache/physiopathology , Headache/virology , Humans , Influenza, Human/genetics , Influenza, Human/physiopathology , Influenza, Human/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Myalgia/genetics , Myalgia/physiopathology , Myalgia/virology , Orthomyxoviridae/pathogenicity , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Array Analysis , Proteome/genetics , Proteome/immunology , Receptors, Cytokine/genetics , Receptors, Cytokine/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/immunology