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Cell Rep Med ; 2(6): 100321, 2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253745


The pathogenesis of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains poorly understood. While several studies suggest that immune dysregulation plays a central role, the key mediators of this process are yet to be defined. Here, we demonstrate that plasma from a high proportion (93%) of critically ill COVID-19 patients, but not healthy controls, contains broadly auto-reactive immunoglobulin M (IgM) and less frequently auto-reactive IgG or IgA. Importantly, these auto-IgMs preferentially recognize primary human lung cells in vitro, including pulmonary endothelial and epithelial cells. By using a combination of flow cytometry, analytical proteome microarray technology, and lactose dehydrogenase (LDH)-release cytotoxicity assays, we identify high-affinity, complement-fixing, auto-reactive IgM directed against 260 candidate autoantigens, including numerous molecules preferentially expressed on the cellular membranes of pulmonary, vascular, gastrointestinal, and renal tissues. These findings suggest that broad IgM-mediated autoimmune reactivity may be involved in the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19, thereby identifying a potential target for therapeutic interventions.

Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Autoantibodies/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Complement C4/metabolism , Critical Illness , Humans , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Intensive Care Units , Lung/metabolism , Protein Array Analysis , Proteome/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
Allergy ; 76(2): 551-561, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1140085


BACKGROUND: The missing asymptomatic COVID-19 infections have been overlooked because of the imperfect sensitivity of the nucleic acid testing (NAT). Globally understanding the humoral immunity in asymptomatic carriers will provide scientific knowledge for developing serological tests, improving early identification, and implementing more rational control strategies against the pandemic. MEASURE: Utilizing both NAT and commercial kits for serum IgM and IgG antibodies, we extensively screened 11 766 epidemiologically suspected individuals on enrollment and 63 asymptomatic individuals were detected and recruited. Sixty-three healthy individuals and 51 mild patients without any preexisting conditions were set as controls. Serum IgM and IgG profiles were further probed using a SARS-CoV-2 proteome microarray, and neutralizing antibody was detected by a pseudotyped virus neutralization assay system. The dynamics of antibodies were analyzed with exposure time or symptoms onset. RESULTS: A combination test of NAT and serological testing for IgM antibody discovered 55.5% of the total of 63 asymptomatic infections, which significantly raises the detection sensitivity when compared with the NAT alone (19%). Serum proteome microarray analysis demonstrated that asymptomatics mainly produced IgM and IgG antibodies against S1 and N proteins out of 20 proteins of SARS-CoV-2. Different from strong and persistent N-specific antibodies, S1-specific IgM responses, which evolved in asymptomatic individuals as early as the seventh day after exposure, peaked on days from 17 days to 25 days, and then disappeared in two months, might be used as an early diagnostic biomarker. 11.8% (6/51) mild patients and 38.1% (24/63) asymptomatic individuals did not produce neutralizing antibody. In particular, neutralizing antibody in asymptomatics gradually vanished in two months. CONCLUSION: Our findings might have important implications for the definition of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections, diagnosis, serological survey, public health, and immunization strategies.

Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Carrier State/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Carrier State/blood , Carrier State/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Male , Middle Aged