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1.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(1): 20-31, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526974

ABSTRACT

The current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a global infection, and is seriously threatening human life, especially cancer patients. Thus, we sought to determine the clinical roles of ACE2 (the cell entry receptor of SARS-CoV-2) in ccRCC (clear cell renal cell carcinoma). TCGA, GEO and TIP datasets, and immunohistochemistry and western blot results were used to determine the prognostic and clinicopathological characteristics of ACE2. ACE2 expression was down-regulated in ccRCC tissues and cell lines. The multivariate Cox regression analysis results indicated that increased ACE2 expression was independent predictor of longer OS (HR: 0.8259, 95%CI: 0.7734-0.8819, P<0.0001) and RFS (HR: 0.8023, 95%CI: 0.7375-0.8729, P<0.0001) in ccRCC patients. Lower ACE2 expression was also associated with advanced tumor stage, higher histological grade and pathological stage, and metastasis. Besides, ACE2 expression was significantly positively and negatively correlated with CD4 Naïve infiltration and CD4 Memory infiltration, respectively. Moreover, higher CD4 Naïve and lower CD4 Memory infiltration levels were associated with better pathological features and longer OS and RFS. Furthermore, high ACE2 expression group in decreased CD4 Naïve, enriched CD4 Naïve and enriched CD4 memory cohort had favorable prognosis. These findings identified that AEC2 was significantly reduced in ccRCC, and decreased ACE2 was related to worse pathological features and poor prognosis. Low ACE2 expression in ccRCC may partially affect the prognosis due to altered immune cells infiltration levels.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Biomarkers, Tumor/metabolism , Carcinoma, Renal Cell/metabolism , Kidney Neoplasms/metabolism , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Carcinoma, Renal Cell/immunology , Humans , Kidney Neoplasms/immunology , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
2.
Elife ; 102021 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1513065

ABSTRACT

Immature neutrophils and HLA-DRneg/low monocytes expand in cancer, autoimmune diseases and viral infections, but their appearance and immunoregulatory effects on T-cells after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) remain underexplored. We found an expansion of circulating immature CD16+CD66b+CD10neg neutrophils and CD14+HLA-DRneg/low monocytes in AMI patients, correlating with cardiac damage, function and levels of immune-inflammation markers. Immature CD10neg neutrophils expressed high amounts of MMP-9 and S100A9, and displayed resistance to apoptosis. Moreover, we found that increased frequency of CD10neg neutrophils and elevated circulating IFN-γ levels were linked, mainly in patients with expanded CD4+CD28null T-cells. Notably, the expansion of circulating CD4+CD28null T-cells was associated with cytomegalovirus (CMV) seropositivity. Using bioinformatic tools, we identified a tight relationship among the peripheral expansion of immature CD10neg neutrophils, CMV IgG titers, and circulating levels of IFN-γ and IL-12 in patients with AMI. At a mechanistic level, CD10neg neutrophils enhanced IFN-γ production by CD4+ T-cells through a contact-independent mechanism involving IL-12. In vitro experiments also highlighted that HLA-DRneg/low monocytes do not suppress T-cell proliferation but secrete high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines after differentiation to macrophages and IFN-γ stimulation. Lastly, using a mouse model of AMI, we showed that immature neutrophils (CD11bposLy6GposCD101neg cells) are recruited to the injured myocardium and migrate to mediastinal lymph nodes shortly after reperfusion. In conclusion, immunoregulatory functions of CD10neg neutrophils play a dynamic role in mechanisms linking myeloid cell compartment dysregulation, Th1-type immune responses and inflammation after AMI.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , HLA-DR Antigens/immunology , Monocytes/immunology , Myocardial Infarction/immunology , Neprilysin/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , Aged , Animals , Biomarkers , Cell Differentiation , Cell Proliferation , Cytokines , Female , Humans , Inflammation , Lymphocyte Activation , Male , Mice , Middle Aged , Myocardial Infarction/pathology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
3.
Elife ; 102021 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1513039

ABSTRACT

For an emerging disease like COVID-19, systems immunology tools may quickly identify and quantitatively characterize cells associated with disease progression or clinical response. With repeated sampling, immune monitoring creates a real-time portrait of the cells reacting to a novel virus before disease-specific knowledge and tools are established. However, single cell analysis tools can struggle to reveal rare cells that are under 0.1% of the population. Here, the machine learning workflow Tracking Responders EXpanding (T-REX) was created to identify changes in both rare and common cells across human immune monitoring settings. T-REX identified cells with highly similar phenotypes that localized to hotspots of significant change during rhinovirus and SARS-CoV-2 infections. Specialized MHCII tetramer reagents that mark rhinovirus-specific CD4+ cells were left out during analysis and then used to test whether T-REX identified biologically significant cells. T-REX identified rhinovirus-specific CD4+ T cells based on phenotypically homogeneous cells expanding by ≥95% following infection. T-REX successfully identified hotspots of virus-specific T cells by comparing infection (day 7) to either pre-infection (day 0) or post-infection (day 28) samples. Plotting the direction and degree of change for each individual donor provided a useful summary view and revealed patterns of immune system behavior across immune monitoring settings. For example, the magnitude and direction of change in some COVID-19 patients was comparable to blast crisis acute myeloid leukemia patients undergoing a complete response to chemotherapy. Other COVID-19 patients instead displayed an immune trajectory like that seen in rhinovirus infection or checkpoint inhibitor therapy for melanoma. The T-REX algorithm thus rapidly identifies and characterizes mechanistically significant cells and places emerging diseases into a systems immunology context for comparison to well-studied immune changes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute/immunology , Melanoma/immunology , Picornaviridae Infections/immunology , Unsupervised Machine Learning , Adolescent , Adult , Algorithms , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Humans , Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute/drug therapy , Melanoma/drug therapy , Neoplasms , Rhinovirus/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Young Adult
4.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0258743, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511818

ABSTRACT

BCG vaccination is known to induce innate immune memory, which confers protection against heterologous infections. However, the effect of BCG vaccination on the conventional adaptive immune cells subsets is not well characterized. We investigated the impact of BCG vaccination on the frequencies of T cell subsets and common gamma c (γc) cytokines in a group of healthy elderly individuals (age 60-80 years) at one month post vaccination as part of our clinical study to examine the effect of BCG on COVID-19. Our results demonstrate that BCG vaccination induced enhanced frequencies of central (p<0.0001) and effector memory (p<0.0001) CD4+ T cells and diminished frequencies of naïve (p<0.0001), transitional memory (p<0.0001), stem cell memory (p = 0.0001) CD4+ T cells and regulatory T cells. In addition, BCG vaccination induced enhanced frequencies of central (p = 0.0008), effector (p<0.0001) and terminal effector memory (p<0.0001) CD8+ T cells and diminished frequencies of naïve (p<0.0001), transitional memory (p<0.0001) and stem cell memory (p = 0.0034) CD8+T cells. BCG vaccination also induced enhanced plasma levels of IL-7 (p<0.0001) and IL-15 (p = 0.0020) but diminished levels of IL-2 (p = 0.0033) and IL-21 (p = 0.0020). Thus, BCG vaccination was associated with enhanced memory T cell subsets as well as memory enhancing γc cytokines in elderly individuals, suggesting its ability to induce non-specific adaptive immune responses.


Subject(s)
BCG Vaccine/immunology , Cytokines/immunology , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit/immunology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Humans , Interleukins/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/immunology , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory/immunology , Vaccination/methods
5.
Front Immunol ; 12: 741639, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1497078

ABSTRACT

Children have reduced severity of COVID-19 compared to adults and typically have mild or asymptomatic disease. The immunological mechanisms underlying these age-related differences in clinical outcomes remain unexplained. Here, we quantify 23 immune cell populations in 141 samples from children and adults with mild COVID-19 and their PCR-negative close household contacts at acute and convalescent time points. Children with COVID-19 displayed marked reductions in myeloid cells during infection, most prominent in children under the age of five. Recovery from infection in both children and adults was characterised by the generation of CD8 TCM and CD4 TCM up to 9 weeks post infection. SARS-CoV-2-exposed close contacts also had immunological changes over time despite no evidence of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection on PCR testing. This included an increase in low-density neutrophils during convalescence in both exposed children and adults, as well as increases in CD8 TCM and CD4 TCM in exposed adults. In comparison to children with other common respiratory viral infections, those with COVID-19 had a greater change in innate and T cell-mediated immune responses over time. These findings provide new mechanistic insights into the immune response during and after recovery from COVID-19 in both children and adults.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adolescent , Adult , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Convalescence , Environmental Exposure , Family Characteristics , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunologic Memory , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult
6.
Front Immunol ; 12: 758154, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477831

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has severely impacted daily life all over the world. Any measures to slow down the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and to decrease disease severity are highly requested. Recent studies have reported inverse correlations between plasma levels of vitamin D and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity. Therefore, it has been proposed to supplement the general population with vitamin D to reduce the impact of COVID-19. However, by studying the course of COVID-19 and the immune response against SARS-CoV-2 in a family with a mutated, non-functional vitamin D receptor, we here demonstrate that vitamin D signaling was dispensable for mounting an efficient adaptive immune response against SARS-CoV-2 in this family. Although these observations might not directly be transferred to the general population, they question a central role of vitamin D in the generation of adaptive immunity against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Familial Hypophosphatemic Rickets/genetics , Receptors, Calcitriol/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adaptive Immunity/genetics , Adaptive Immunity/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Familial Hypophosphatemic Rickets/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Lymphocyte Count , Vitamin D/blood , Vitamin D/therapeutic use
7.
Front Immunol ; 12: 727850, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477821

ABSTRACT

Mass SARS-Cov-2 vaccination campaign represents the only strategy to defeat the global pandemic we are facing. Immunocompromised patients represent a vulnerable population at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 and thus should be prioritized in the vaccination programs and in the study of the vaccine efficacy. Nevertheless, most data on efficacy and safety of the available vaccines derive from trials conducted on healthy individuals; hence, studies on immunogenicity of SARS-CoV2 vaccines in such populations are deeply needed. Here, we perform an observational longitudinal study analyzing the humoral and cellular response following the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in a cohort of patients affected by inborn errors of immunity (IEI) compared to healthy controls (HC). We show that both IEI and HC groups experienced a significant increase in anti-SARS-CoV-2 Abs 1 week after the second scheduled dose as well as an overall statistically significant expansion of the Ag-specific CD4+CD40L+ T cells in both HC and IEI. Five IEI patients did not develop any specific CD4+CD40L+ T cellular response, with one of these patients unable to also mount any humoral response. These data raise immunologic concerns about using Ab response as a sole metric of protective immunity following vaccination for SARS-CoV-2. Taken together, these findings suggest that evaluation of vaccine-induced immunity in this subpopulation should also include quantification of Ag-specific T cells.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Immunocompromised Host/immunology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Vaccination , Young Adult
8.
J Immunol Res ; 2021: 8669098, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476888

ABSTRACT

Objective: This study explored the consistency and differences in the immune cells and cytokines between patients with COVID-19 or cancer. We further analyzed the correlations between the acute inflammation and cancer-related immune disorder. Methods: This retrospective study involved 167 COVID-19 patients and 218 cancer patients. COVID-19 and cancer were each further divided into two subgroups. Quantitative and qualitative variables were measured by one-way ANOVA and chi-square test, respectively. Herein, we carried out a correlation analysis between immune cells and cytokines and used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to discover the optimal diagnostic index. Results: COVID-19 and cancers were associated with lymphopenia and high levels of monocytes, neutrophils, IL-6, and IL-10. IL-2 was the optimal indicator to differentiate the two diseases. Compared with respiratory cancer patients, COVID-19 patients had lower levels of IL-2 and higher levels of CD3+CD4+ T cells and CD19+ B cells. In the subgroup analysis, IL-6 was the optimal differential diagnostic parameter that had the ability to identify if COVID-19 patients would be severely affected, and severe COVID-19 patients had lower levels of lymphocyte subsets (CD3+ T cells, CD3+CD4+ T cells, CD3+CD8+T cells, and CD19+ B cells) and CD16+CD56+ NK cells and higher level of neutrophils. There were significant differences in the levels of CD3+CD4+ T cells and CD19+ B cells between T1-2 and T3-4 stages as well as IL-2 and CD19+ B cells between N0-1 and N2-3 stages while no significant differences between the metastatic and nonmetastatic cancer patients. Additionally, there were higher correlations between IL-2 and IL-4, TNF-α and IL-2, TNF-α and IL-4, TNF-α and IFN-γ, and CD16+CD56+NK cells and various subsets of T cells in COVID-19 patients. There was a higher correlation between CD3+CD4+ T cells and CD19+ B cells in cancer patients. Conclusion: Inflammation associated with COVID-19 or cancer had effects on patients' outcomes. Accompanied by changes in immune cells and cytokines, there were consistencies, differences, and satisfactory correlations between patients with COVID-19 and those with cancers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/blood , Lymphopenia/blood , Monocytes/immunology , Neoplasms/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Inflammation/blood , Inflammation/pathology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Neoplasms/pathology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Young Adult
9.
JCI Insight ; 6(18)2021 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467778

ABSTRACT

The importance of the adaptive T cell response in the control and resolution of viral infection has been well established. However, the nature of T cell-mediated viral control mechanisms in life-threatening stages of COVID-19 has yet to be determined. The aim of the present study was to determine the function and phenotype of T cell populations associated with survival or death of patients with COVID-19 in intensive care as a result of phenotypic and functional profiling by mass cytometry. Increased frequencies of circulating, polyfunctional CD4+CXCR5+HLA-DR+ stem cell memory T cells (Tscms) and decreased proportions of granzyme B-expressing and perforin-expressing effector memory T cells were detected in recovered and deceased patients, respectively. The higher abundance of polyfunctional PD-L1+CXCR3+CD8+ effector T cells (Teffs), CXCR5+HLA-DR+ Tscms, and anti-nucleocapsid (anti-NC) cytokine-producing T cells permitted us to differentiate between recovered and deceased patients. The results from a principal component analysis show an imbalance in the T cell compartment that allowed for the separation of recovered and deceased patients. The paucity of circulating PD-L1+CXCR3+CD8+ Teffs and NC-specific CD8+ T cells accurately forecasts fatal disease outcome. This study provides insight into the nature of the T cell populations involved in the control of COVID-19 and therefore might impact T cell-based vaccine designs for this infectious disease.


Subject(s)
B7-H1 Antigen/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8 Antigens/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , Receptors, CXCR3/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/pathology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Female , France/epidemiology , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Lymphocyte Activation , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Survival Rate/trends
10.
Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis ; 40(12): 2669-2676, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1460345

ABSTRACT

The humoral and cellular immunity of convalescent COVID-19 patients is involved in pathogenesis and vaccine immunity. In this study, through CoV-psV neutralization assay and IFN-γ ELISpot testing in 30 cases of COVID-19 patients after 9 months post-SARS-CoV-2 infection, it found that the ratio of memory/naive CD4+ T lymphocytes cells and levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2-IgM and RBD-IgM were slightly but significantly higher in COVID-19 severe convalescent patients than that in non-severe patients. The specific cellular and humoral immunity against SARS-CoV-2 were detectable, regardless of the severity of the disease in the acute phase. This information may help understanding the immune status after SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assay , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
11.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(10): e1009742, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1456098

ABSTRACT

Disease manifestations in COVID-19 range from mild to severe illness associated with a dysregulated innate immune response. Alterations in function and regeneration of dendritic cells (DCs) and monocytes may contribute to immunopathology and influence adaptive immune responses in COVID-19 patients. We analyzed circulating DC and monocyte subsets in 65 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with mild/moderate or severe disease from acute illness to recovery and in healthy controls. Persisting reduction of all DC subpopulations was accompanied by an expansion of proliferating Lineage-HLADR+ cells lacking DC markers. Increased frequency of CD163+ CD14+ cells within the recently discovered DC3 subpopulation in patients with more severe disease was associated with systemic inflammation, activated T follicular helper cells, and antibody-secreting cells. Persistent downregulation of CD86 and upregulation of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) in conventional DCs (cDC2 and DC3) and classical monocytes associated with a reduced capacity to stimulate naïve CD4+ T cells correlated with disease severity. Long-lasting depletion and functional impairment of DCs and monocytes may have consequences for susceptibility to secondary infections and therapy of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Regeneration/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Antigens, CD/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Dendritic Cells/pathology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Monocytes/immunology , Monocytes/pathology , Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor/immunology
12.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5839, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454764

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need to understand the nature of immune responses against SARS-CoV-2, to inform risk-mitigation strategies for people living with HIV (PLWH). Here we show that the majority of PLWH with ART suppressed HIV viral load, mount a detectable adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Humoral and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses are comparable between HIV-positive and negative subjects and persist 5-7 months following predominately mild COVID-19 disease. T cell responses against Spike, Membrane and Nucleoprotein are the most prominent, with SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4 T cells outnumbering CD8 T cells. We further show that the overall magnitude of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses relates to the size of the naive CD4 T cell pool and the CD4:CD8 ratio in PLWH. These findings suggest that inadequate immune reconstitution on ART, could hinder immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 with implications for the individual management and vaccine effectiveness in PLWH.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections/immunology , HIV Infections/virology , Immunity, Humoral , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Female , Genome, Human , HIV Infections/blood , Humans , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , Species Specificity , Tissue Donors
13.
Front Immunol ; 12: 737406, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450813

ABSTRACT

IL-7/IL-7R signaling is critical for development, maturation, maintenance and survival of many lymphocytes in the thymus and periphery. IL-7 has been used as immunotherapy in pre-clinical and clinical studies to treat cancer, HIV infection and sepsis. Here, we discuss the critical function of IL-7 in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients. We also summarize a promising role of IL-7 as a vaccine adjuvant. It could potentially enhance the immune responses to vaccines especially against SARS-CoV-2 or other new vaccines.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Interleukin-7/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , Interleukin-7/metabolism , Receptors, Interleukin-7/metabolism
14.
Front Immunol ; 12: 709759, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450807

ABSTRACT

The clinical features of SARS-CoV-2 infection range from asymptomatic to severe disease with life-threatening complications. Understanding the persistence of immune responses in asymptomatic individuals merit special attention because of their importance in controlling the spread of the infections. We here studied the antibody and T cell responses, and a wide range of inflammation markers, in 56 SARS-CoV-2 antibody-positive individuals, identified by a population screen after the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection. These, mostly asymptomatic individuals, were reanalyzed 7-8 months after their infection together with 115 age-matched seronegative controls. We found that 7-8 months after the infection their antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (N) protein declined whereas we found no decrease in the antibodies to Spike receptor-binding domain (S-RBD) when compared to the findings at seropositivity identification. In contrast to antibodies to N protein, the antibodies to S-RBD correlated with the viral neutralization capacity and with CD4+ T cell responses as measured by antigen-specific upregulation of CD137 and CD69 markers. Unexpectedly we found the asymptomatic antibody-positive individuals to have increased serum levels of S100A12, TGF-alpha, IL18, and OSM, the markers of activated macrophages-monocytes, suggesting long-term persistent inflammatory effect associated with the viral infection in asymptomatic individuals. Our results support the evidence for the long-term persistence of the inflammation process and the need for post-infection clinical monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 infected asymptomatic individuals.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Infections , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Inflammation Mediators/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Interleukin-18/blood , Macrophages/immunology , Monocytes/immunology , Oncostatin M/blood , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Protein Domains/immunology , S100A12 Protein/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Transforming Growth Factor alpha/blood
15.
J Immunol ; 207(10): 2399-2404, 2021 11 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450887

ABSTRACT

Immunity to pulmonary infection typically requires elicitation of lung-resident T cells that subsequently confer protection against secondary infection. The presence of tissue-resident T cells in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) convalescent patients is unknown. Using a sublethal mouse model of coronavirus disease 2019, we determined if SARS-CoV-2 infection potentiated Ag-specific pulmonary resident CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses and if these cells mediated protection against secondary infection. S protein-specific T cells were present in resident and circulating populations. However, M and N protein-specific T cells were detected only in the resident T cell pool. Using an adoptive transfer strategy, we found that T cells from SARS-CoV-2 immune animals did not protect naive mice. These data indicate that resident T cells are elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection but are not sufficient for protective immunity.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Lung/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adoptive Transfer , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Cells, Cultured , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Resistance , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity
16.
Front Immunol ; 12: 740249, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448730

ABSTRACT

Objective: To assess in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, treated with different immunosuppressive therapies, the induction of SARS-CoV-2-specific immune response after vaccination in terms of anti-region-binding-domain (RBD)-antibody- and T-cell-specific responses against spike, and the vaccine safety in terms of clinical impact on disease activity. Methods: Health care workers (HCWs) and RA patients, having completed the BNT162b2-mRNA vaccination in the last 2 weeks, were enrolled. Serological response was evaluated by quantifying anti-RBD antibodies, while the cell-mediated response was evaluated by a whole-blood test quantifying the interferon (IFN)-γ-response to spike peptides. FACS analysis was performed to identify the cells responding to spike stimulation. RA disease activity was evaluated by clinical examination through the DAS28crp, and local and/or systemic clinical adverse events were registered. In RA patients, the ongoing therapeutic regimen was modified during the vaccination period according to the American College of Rheumatology indications. Results: We prospectively enrolled 167 HCWs and 35 RA patients. Anti-RBD-antibodies were detected in almost all patients (34/35, 97%), although the titer was significantly reduced in patients under CTLA-4-inhibitors (median: 465 BAU/mL, IQR: 103-1189, p<0.001) or IL-6-inhibitors (median: 492 BAU/mL, IQR: 161-1007, p<0.001) compared to HCWs (median: 2351 BAU/mL, IQR: 1389-3748). T-cell-specific response scored positive in most of RA patients [24/35, (69%)] with significantly lower IFN-γ levels in patients under biological therapy such as IL-6-inhibitors (median: 33.2 pg/mL, IQR: 6.1-73.9, p<0.001), CTLA-4-inhibitors (median: 10.9 pg/mL, IQR: 3.7-36.7, p<0.001), and TNF-α-inhibitors (median: 89.6 pg/mL, IQR: 17.8-224, p=0.002) compared to HCWs (median: 343 pg/mL, IQR: 188-756). A significant correlation between the anti-RBD-antibody titer and spike-IFN-γ-specific T-cell response was found in RA patients (rho=0.432, p=0.009). IFN-γ T-cell response was mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Finally, no significant increase in disease activity was found in RA patients following vaccination. Conclusion: This study showed for the first time that antibody-specific and whole-blood spike-specific T-cell responses induced by the COVID-19 mRNA-vaccine were present in the majority of RA patients, who underwent a strategy of temporary suspension of immunosuppressive treatment during vaccine administration. However, the magnitude of specific responses was dependent on the immunosuppressive therapy administered. In RA patients, BNT162b2 vaccine was safe and disease activity remained stable.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunotherapy/adverse effects , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Aged , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/cytology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
17.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444330

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The immunological changes associated with COVID-19 are largely unknown. METHODS: Patients with COVID-19 showing moderate (n = 18; SpO2 > 93%, respiratory rate > 22 per minute, CRP > 10 mg/L) and severe (n = 23; SpO2 < 93%, respiratory rate >30 per minute, PaO2/FiO2 ≤ 300 mmHg, permanent oxygen therapy, qSOFA > 2) infection, and 37 healthy donors (HD) were enrolled. Circulating T- and B-cell subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry. RESULTS: CD4+Th cells were skewed toward Th2-like phenotypes within CD45RA+CD62L- (CM) and CD45RA-CD62L- (EM) cells in patients with severe COVID-19, while CM CCR6+ Th17-like cells were decreased if compared with HD. Within CM Th17-like cells "classical" Th17-like cells were increased and Th17.1-like cells were decreased in severe COVID-19 cases. Circulating CM follicular Th-like (Tfh) cells were decreased in all COVID-19 patients, and Tfh17-like cells represented the most predominant subset in severe COVID-19 cases. Both groups of patients showed increased levels of IgD-CD38++ B cells, while the levels of IgD+CD38- and IgD-CD38- were decreased. The frequency of IgD+CD27+ and IgD-CD27+ B cells was significantly reduced in severe COVID-19 cases. CONCLUSIONS: We showed an imbalance within almost all circulating memory Th subsets during acute COVID-19 and showed that altered Tfh polarization led to a dysregulated humoral immune response.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2 , ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1 , Adult , Aged , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Female , Flow Cytometry , Humans , Immunoglobulin D , Male , Middle Aged , Oxygen , Receptors, CCR6 , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Th17 Cells/immunology
18.
Virus Res ; 305: 198579, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433887

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV2 mediated Covid-19 pandemic has impacted humankind at an unprecedented scale. While substantial research efforts have focused towards understanding the mechanisms of viral infection and developing vaccines/ therapeutics, factors affecting the susceptibility to SARS-CoV2 infection and manifestation of Covid-19 remain less explored. Given that the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) system is known to vary among ethnic populations, it is likely to affect the recognition of the virus, and in turn, the susceptibility to Covid-19. To understand this, we used bioinformatic tools to probe all SARS-CoV2 peptides which could elicit T-cell response in humans. We also tried to answer the intriguing question of whether these potential epitopes were equally immunogenic across ethnicities, by studying the distribution of HLA alleles among different populations and their share of cognate epitopes. Results indicate that the immune recognition potential of SARS-CoV2 epitopes tend to vary between different ethnic groups. While the South Asians are likely to recognize higher number of CD8-specific epitopes, Europeans are likely to identify higher number of CD4-specific epitopes. We also hypothesize and provide clues that the newer mutations in SARS-CoV2 are unlikely to alter the T-cell mediated immunogenic responses among the studied ethnic populations. The work presented herein is expected to bolster our understanding of the pandemic, by providing insights into differential immunological response of ethnic populations to the virus as well as by gaging the possible effects of mutations in SARS-CoV2 on efficacy of potential epitope-based vaccines through evaluating ∼40,000 viral genomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/immunology , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Ethnic Groups , Genome, Viral , HLA Antigens/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Africa/epidemiology , Alleles , Amino Acid Sequence , Asia/epidemiology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/pathology , Computational Biology/methods , Disease Susceptibility , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/classification , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/classification , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Europe/epidemiology , HLA Antigens/classification , HLA Antigens/genetics , Humans , Middle East/epidemiology , Oceania/epidemiology , Principal Component Analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
19.
J Infect Dis ; 224(6): 956-966, 2021 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429243

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be a major public health challenge globally. The identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-derived T-cell epitopes is of critical importance for peptide vaccines or diagnostic tools of COVID-19. METHODS: In this study, several SARS-CoV-2-derived human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-I binding peptides were predicted by NetMHCpan-4.1 and selected by Popcover to achieve pancoverage of the Chinese population. The top 5 ranked peptides derived from each protein of SARS-CoV-2 were then evaluated using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from unexposed individuals (negative for SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G). RESULTS: Seven epitopes derived from 4 SARS-CoV-2 proteins were identified. It is interesting to note that most (5 of 7) of the SARS-CoV-2-derived peptides with predicted affinities for HLA-I molecules were identified as HLA-II-restricted epitopes and induced CD4+ T cell-dependent responses. These results complete missing pieces of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells and suggest that pre-existing T cells targeting all SARS-CoV-2-encoded proteins can be discovered in unexposed populations. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, in the current study, we present an alternative and effective strategy for the identification of T-cell epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 in healthy subjects, which may indicate an important role in the development of peptide vaccines for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Cell Line , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 1931-1946, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429140

ABSTRACT

Identification of relevant epitopes is crucial for the development of subunit peptide vaccines inducing neutralizing and cellular immunity against SARS-CoV-2. Our aim was the characterization of epitopes in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein to generate a peptide vaccine. Epitope mapping using a panel of 10 amino acid overlapped 15-mer peptides covering region 401-515 from RBD did not identify linear epitopes when tested with sera from infected individuals or from RBD-immunized mice. However, immunization of mice with these 15-mer peptides identified four peptides located at region 446-480 that induced antibodies recognizing the peptides and RBD/S1 proteins. Immunization with peptide 446-480 from S protein formulated with Freund's adjuvant or with CpG oligodeoxinucleotide/Alum induced polyepitopic antibody responses in BALB/c and C56BL/6J mice, recognizing RBD (titres of 3 × 104-3 × 105, depending on the adjuvant) and displaying neutralizing capacity (80-95% inhibition capacity; p < 0.05) against SARS-CoV-2. Murine CD4 and CD8T-cell epitopes were identified in region 446-480 and vaccination experiments using HLA transgenic mice suggested the presence of multiple human T-cell epitopes. Antibodies induced by peptide 446-480 showed broad recognition of S proteins and S-derived peptides belonging to SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Importantly, vaccination with peptide 446-480 or with a cyclic version of peptide 446-488 containing a disulphide bridge between cysteines 480 and 488, protected humanized K18-hACE2 mice from a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2 (62.5 and 75% of protection; p < 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively). This region could be the basis for a peptide vaccine or other vaccine platforms against Covid-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/standards , Cross Reactions/immunology , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Immunization , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
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