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Cell Death Differ ; 28(12): 3297-3315, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298835


Patients with cancer are at higher risk of severe coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19), but the mechanisms underlying virus-host interactions during cancer therapies remain elusive. When comparing nasopharyngeal swabs from cancer and noncancer patients for RT-qPCR cycle thresholds measuring acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in 1063 patients (58% with cancer), we found that malignant disease favors the magnitude and duration of viral RNA shedding concomitant with prolonged serum elevations of type 1 IFN that anticorrelated with anti-RBD IgG antibodies. Cancer patients with a prolonged SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection exhibited the typical immunopathology of severe COVID-19 at the early phase of infection including circulation of immature neutrophils, depletion of nonconventional monocytes, and a general lymphopenia that, however, was accompanied by a rise in plasmablasts, activated follicular T-helper cells, and non-naive Granzyme B+FasL+, EomeshighTCF-1high, PD-1+CD8+ Tc1 cells. Virus-induced lymphopenia worsened cancer-associated lymphocyte loss, and low lymphocyte counts correlated with chronic SARS-CoV-2 RNA shedding, COVID-19 severity, and a higher risk of cancer-related death in the first and second surge of the pandemic. Lymphocyte loss correlated with significant changes in metabolites from the polyamine and biliary salt pathways as well as increased blood DNA from Enterobacteriaceae and Micrococcaceae gut family members in long-term viral carriers. We surmise that cancer therapies may exacerbate the paradoxical association between lymphopenia and COVID-19-related immunopathology, and that the prevention of COVID-19-induced lymphocyte loss may reduce cancer-associated death.

COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/virology , Lymphopenia/complications , Neoplasms/complications , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Shedding , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cohort Studies , DNA, Bacterial/blood , Enterobacteriaceae/genetics , Female , Humans , Interferon Type I/blood , Lymphopenia/virology , Male , Micrococcaceae/genetics , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Neoplasms/mortality , Pandemics , Prognosis , Time Factors , Young Adult
Discov Med ; 29(157): 129-137, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-812954


Sepsis is a life-threatening clinical condition demanding accurate and rapid diagnosis of the culprit pathogen, thereby to improve prognosis. Pathogen determination through blood culture is the gold standard for diagnosis but has limitations due to low sensitivity. Recently, circulating DNAs derived from pathogenic organisms were found in the plasma of patients with sepsis and were further proved to be more sensitive biomarkers for the diagnosis of the pathogen origin in sepsis. However, the fundamental molecular characteristics of circulating DNA in patients with sepsis remain unclear. Here, we used specific PCR and Sanger sequencing to verify the microbiology culture results via the corresponding plasma circulating DNA. We analyzed the composition and molecular characteristics of circulating DNA in septic patients using next-generation sequencing technology. We showed the presence of pathogen-derived circulating DNA in the plasma of patients with sepsis. The sizes of circulating DNA fragments derived from pathogenic bacteria showed a skewed unimodal distribution, while those derived from host cells showed a normal unimodal distribution. Lengths of fragments at peak concentration for both origins ranged from 150 bp to 200 bp, and reads mapping to pathogenic bacteria genome distributed uniformly on the reference. Our findings have improved our understanding of microbial circulating DNA in patients with sepsis as a potential methodology for the accurate diagnosis of sepsis, especially in light of an urgent need for such a diagnosis associated with the COVID-19 infection.

Bacterial Infections/microbiology , Cell-Free Nucleic Acids/blood , DNA, Bacterial/blood , Sepsis/microbiology , Adult , Aged , Bacterial Infections/complications , Bacterial Infections/diagnosis , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Cell-Free Nucleic Acids/analysis , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Culture Techniques , DNA, Bacterial/analysis , Female , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/complications , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Sepsis/complications , Sepsis/diagnosis , Sequence Analysis, DNA
Science ; 369(6508): 1210-1220, 2020 09 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-704393


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) represents a global crisis, yet major knowledge gaps remain about human immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We analyzed immune responses in 76 COVID-19 patients and 69 healthy individuals from Hong Kong and Atlanta, Georgia, United States. In the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of COVID-19 patients, we observed reduced expression of human leukocyte antigen class DR (HLA-DR) and proinflammatory cytokines by myeloid cells as well as impaired mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and interferon-α (IFN-α) production by plasmacytoid dendritic cells. By contrast, we detected enhanced plasma levels of inflammatory mediators-including EN-RAGE, TNFSF14, and oncostatin M-which correlated with disease severity and increased bacterial products in plasma. Single-cell transcriptomics revealed a lack of type I IFNs, reduced HLA-DR in the myeloid cells of patients with severe COVID-19, and transient expression of IFN-stimulated genes. This was consistent with bulk PBMC transcriptomics and transient, low IFN-α levels in plasma during infection. These results reveal mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets for COVID-19.

Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 , Cytokines/blood , DNA, Bacterial/blood , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Dendritic Cells/metabolism , Female , Flow Cytometry , HLA-DR Antigens/analysis , Humans , Immunity , Immunity, Innate , Immunoglobulins/blood , Immunoglobulins/immunology , Inflammation Mediators/blood , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Lipopolysaccharides/blood , Male , Myeloid Cells/immunology , Myeloid Cells/metabolism , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction , Single-Cell Analysis , Systems Biology , TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases/metabolism , Transcription, Genetic , Transcriptome