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1.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun ; 565: 64-71, 2021 08 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1251023

ABSTRACT

Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are extracellular webs of DNA, histones and granular contents that are released by neutrophils to control infections. However, NETs that is not properly regulated can propagate inflammation and thrombosis. It was recognized that viruses can induce NETs. As a synthetic analog of viral double-stranded (ds) RNA, polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] is known to induce inflammation and thrombosis. However, whether and how poly(I:C) modulates NETs remains unclear. Here, we have demonstrated that poly(I:C) induced extracellular DNA traps in human neutrophils in a dose-dependent manner. Further, poly(I:C) or dsRNA virus elevated the levels of myeloperoxidase-DNA complexes and citrullinated histone H3, which are specific markers of NETs, in both neutrophil supernatants and mouse plasma. Interestingly, a potent peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PAD4) inhibitor, BB-CL-Amidine (BB-CLA) or PAD4 knockdown effectively prevented poly(I:C)-induced NETs formation and release. In addition, BB-CLA abrogated poly(I:C)-triggered neutrophil activation and infiltration, and vascular permeability in lungs. BB-CLA also attenuated poly(I:C)-induced thrombocytopenia in circulation, fibrin deposition and thrombus formation in tissues. Taken together, these results suggest that viral mimetic poly(I:C) may induce NETs-dependent inflammation and thrombosis through PAD4, and that inhibiting PAD4 may become a good strategy to protect against viral infection-caused inflammation/thrombosis-related pathological conditions of diseases.


Subject(s)
Extracellular Traps/drug effects , Inflammation/metabolism , Neutrophils/drug effects , Poly I-C/pharmacology , Protein-Arginine Deiminase Type 4/metabolism , Thrombosis/metabolism , Amidines/pharmacology , Animals , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Inflammation/pathology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Neutrophil Activation/drug effects , Neutrophils/metabolism , Protein-Arginine Deiminase Type 4/antagonists & inhibitors , Thrombosis/pathology
2.
Immune Netw ; 21(2): e16, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231554

ABSTRACT

Patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) demonstrate dysregulated immune responses including exacerbated neutrophil functions. Massive neutrophil infiltrations accompanying neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formations are also observed in patients with severe COVID-19. However, the mechanism underlying severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-induced NET formation has not yet been elucidated. Here we show that 2 viral proteins encoded by SARS-CoV-2, the nucleocapsid protein and the whole spike protein, induce NET formation from neutrophils. NET formation was ROS-independent and was completely inhibited by the spleen tyrosine kinase inhibition. The inhibition of p38 MAPK, protein kinase C, and JNK signaling pathways also inhibited viral protein-induced NET formation. Our findings demonstrate one method by which SARS-CoV-2 evades innate immunity and provide a potential target for therapeutics to treat patients with severe COVID-19.

3.
Front Mol Biosci ; 8: 600881, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1170100

ABSTRACT

The severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) varies significantly with cases spanning from asymptomatic to lethal with a subset of individuals developing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and death from respiratory failure. To determine whether global nucleosome and citrullinated nucleosome levels were elevated in COVID-19 patients, we tested two independent cohorts of COVID-19 positive patients with quantitative nucleosome immunoassays and found that nucleosomes were highly elevated in plasma of COVID-19 patients with a severe course of the disease relative to healthy controls and that both histone 3.1 variant and citrullinated nucleosomes increase with disease severity. Elevated citrullination of circulating nucleosomes is indicative of neutrophil extracellular trap formation, neutrophil activation and NETosis in severely affected individuals. Importantly, using hospital setting (outpatient, inpatient or ICU) as a proxy for disease severity, nucleosome levels increased with disease severity and may serve as a guiding biomarker for treatment. Owing to the limited availability of mechanical ventilators and extracorporal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) equipment, there is an urgent need for effective tools to rapidly assess disease severity and guide treatment selection. Based on our studies of two independent cohorts of COVID-19 patients from Belgium and Germany, we suggest further investigation of circulating nucleosomes and citrullination as biomarkers for clinical triage, treatment allocation and clinical drug discovery.

4.
Lancet Microbe ; 1(7): e290-e299, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087376

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) targets multiple organs and causes severe coagulopathy. Histopathological organ changes might not only be attributable to a direct virus-induced effect, but also the immune response. The aims of this study were to assess the duration of viral presence, identify the extent of inflammatory response, and investigate the underlying cause of coagulopathy. METHODS: This prospective autopsy cohort study was done at Amsterdam University Medical Centers (UMC), the Netherlands. With informed consent from relatives, full body autopsy was done on 21 patients with COVID-19 for whom autopsy was requested between March 9 and May 18, 2020. In addition to histopathological evaluation of organ damage, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein and the composition of the immune infiltrate and thrombi were assessed, and all were linked to disease course. FINDINGS: Our cohort (n=21) included 16 (76%) men, and median age was 68 years (range 41-78). Median disease course (time from onset of symptoms to death) was 22 days (range 5-44 days). In 11 patients tested for SARS-CoV-2 tropism, SARS-CoV-2 infected cells were present in multiple organs, most abundantly in the lungs, but presence in the lungs became sporadic with increased disease course. Other SARS-CoV-2-positive organs included the upper respiratory tract, heart, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. In histological analyses of organs (sampled from nine to 21 patients per organ), an extensive inflammatory response was present in the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and brain. In the brain, extensive inflammation was seen in the olfactory bulbs and medulla oblongata. Thrombi and neutrophilic plugs were present in the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, and brain and were most frequently observed late in the disease course (15 patients with thrombi, median disease course 22 days [5-44]; ten patients with neutrophilic plugs, 21 days [5-44]). Neutrophilic plugs were observed in two forms: solely composed of neutrophils with neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), or as aggregates of NETs and platelets.. INTERPRETATION: In patients with lethal COVID-19, an extensive systemic inflammatory response was present, with a continued presence of neutrophils and NETs. However, SARS-CoV-2-infected cells were only sporadically present at late stages of COVID-19. This suggests a maladaptive immune response and substantiates the evidence for immunomodulation as a target in the treatment of severe COVID-19. FUNDING: Amsterdam UMC Corona Research Fund.


Subject(s)
Blood Coagulation Disorders , COVID-19 , Thrombosis , Adult , Aged , Autopsy , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Autoimmun Rev ; 20(4): 102792, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1086776

ABSTRACT

Autoimmunity may be generated by a variety of factors by creating a hyper-stimulated state of the immune system. It had been established long ago that viruses are a substantial component of environmental factors that contribute to the production of autoimmune antibodies, as well as autoimmune diseases. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are viruses that withhold these autoimmune abilities. In a similar manner, SARS-CoV-2 may be counted to similar manifestations, as numerous records demonstrating the likelihood of COVID-19 patients to develop multiple types of autoantibodies and autoimmune diseases. In this review, we focused on the association between COVID-19 and the immune system concerning the tendency of patients to develop over 15 separate types of autoantibodies and above 10 distinct autoimmune diseases. An additional autoimmunity manifestation may be one of the common initial symptoms in COVID-19 patients, anosmia, the complete loss of the ability to sense smell, and other olfactory alterations. We summarize current knowledge on principal mechanisms that may contribute to the development of autoimmunity in the disease: the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to hyper-stimulate the immune system, induce excessive neutrophil extracellular traps formation with neutrophil-associated cytokine responses and the molecular resemblance between self-components of the host and the virus. Additionally, we will examine COVID-19 potential risk on the new-onsets of autoimmune diseases, such as antiphospholipid syndrome, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Kawasaki disease and numerous others. It is of great importance to recognize those autoimmune manifestations of COVID-19 in order to properly cope with their outcomes in the ongoing pandemic and the long-term post-pandemic period. Lastly, an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 may be the best solution in dealing with the ongoing pandemic. We will discuss the new messenger RNA vaccination strategy with an emphasis on autoimmunity implications.


Subject(s)
Autoimmune Diseases , COVID-19 , Epstein-Barr Virus Infections , Autoimmunity , COVID-19 Vaccines , Herpesvirus 4, Human , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Int J Mass Spectrom ; 4632021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083157

ABSTRACT

Neutrophil elastase is a serine protease released by neutrophils, and its dysregulation has been associated with a variety of debilitating pathologies, most notably cystic fibrosis. This protein is also a prominent component of the so-called neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), whose formation is a part of the innate immunity response to invading pathogens, but also contributes to a variety of pathologies ranging from autoimmune disorders and inflammation to cancer to thrombotic complications in COVID-19. Retention of neutrophil elastase within NETs is provided by ejected DNA chains, although this protein is also capable of interacting with a range of other endogenous polyanions, such as heparin and heparan sulfate. In this work, we evaluate the feasibility of using native mass spectrometry (MS) as a means of studying interactions of neutrophil elastase with heparin oligomers ranging from structurally homogeneous synthetic pentasaccharide fondaparinux to relatively long (up to twenty saccharide units) and structurally heterogeneous chains produced by partial depolymerization of heparin. The presence of heterogeneous glycan chains on neutrophil elastase and the structural heterogeneity of heparin oligomers render the use of standard MS to study their complexes impractical. However, supplementing MS with limited charge reduction in the gas phase allows meaningful data to be extracted from MS measurements. In contrast to earlier molecular modeling studies where a single heparin-binding site was identified, our work reveals the existence of multiple binding sites, with a single protein molecule being able to accommodate up to three decasaccharides. The measurements also reveal the ability of even relatively short heparin oligomers to bridge two protein molecules, suggesting that characterization of these complexes using native MS can shed light on the structural properties of NETs. Lastly, the use of MS allows the binding preferences of heparin oligomers to neutrophil elastase to be studied with respect to specific structural properties of heparin, such as the level of sulfation (i.e., charge density). All experimental measurements are carried out in parallel with molecular dynamics simulations of the protein/heparin oligomer systems, which are in remarkable agreement with the experimental data and highlight the role of electrostatic interactions as dominant forces governing the formation of these complexes.

7.
Cells ; 9(12)2020 12 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-971834

ABSTRACT

Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) leads to an adaptive immune response in the host and the formation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies. While IgG responses against SARS-CoV-2 have been characterized quite well, less is known about IgA. IgA2 activates immune cells and induces inflammation and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation which may contribute to organ injury and fatal outcome in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. SARS-CoV-2 spike protein specific antibody levels were measured in plasma samples of 15 noninfected controls and 82 SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with no or mild symptoms, moderate symptoms (hospitalization) or severe disease (intensive care unit, ICU). Antibody levels were compared to levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and circulating extracellular DNA (ecDNA) as markers for general inflammation and NET formation, respectively. While levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG were similar in all patient groups, IgA2 antibodies were restricted to severe disease and showed the strongest discrimination between nonfatal and fatal outcome in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. While anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA2 levels correlated with CRP levels in severely diseased patients, only anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgA2 correlated with ecDNA. These data suggest that the formation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgA2 during SARS-CoV-2 infection is a marker for more severe disease related to NET formation and poor outcome.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers/blood , C-Reactive Protein/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Case-Control Studies , Cell-Free Nucleic Acids/blood , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
8.
J Clin Med ; 9(9)2020 Sep 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-892446

ABSTRACT

Understanding of the pathogenesis of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) remains incomplete, particularly in respect to the multi-organ dysfunction it may cause. We were the first to report the analogous biological and physiological features of COVID-19 pathogenesis and the harmful amplification loop between inflammation and tissue damage induced by the dysregulation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) formation. Given the rapid evolution of this disease, the nature of its symptoms, and its potential lethality, we hypothesize that COVID-19 progresses under just such an amplifier loop, leading to a massive, uncontrolled inflammation process. Here, we describe in-depth the correlations of COVID-19 symptoms and biological features with those where uncontrolled NET formation is implicated in various sterile or infectious diseases. General clinical conditions, as well as numerous pathological and biological features, are analogous with NETs deleterious effects. Among NETs by-products implicated in COVID-19 pathogenesis, one of the most significant appears to be elastase, in accelerating virus entry and inducing hypertension, thrombosis and vasculitis. We postulate that severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) may evade innate immune response, causing uncontrolled NETs formation and multi-organ failure. In addition, we point to indicators that NETS-associated diseases are COVID-19 risk factors. Acknowledging that neutrophils are the principal origin of extracellular and circulating DNA release, we nonetheless, explain why targeting NETs rather than neutrophils themselves may in practice be a better strategy. This paper also offers an in-depth review of NET formation, function and pathogenic dysregulation, as well as of current and prospective future therapies to control NETopathies. As such, it enables us also to suggest new therapeutic strategies to fight COVID-19. In combination with or independent of the latest tested approaches, we propose the evaluation, in the short term, of treatments with DNase-1, with the anti-diabetic Metformin, or with drugs targeting elastase (i.e., Silvelestat). With a longer perspective, we also advocate a significant increase in research on the development of toll-like receptors (TLR) and C-type lectin-like receptors (CLEC) inhibitors, NET-inhibitory peptides, and on anti-IL-26 therapies.

9.
New Microbes New Infect ; 37: 100756, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-805707

ABSTRACT

Dornase alfa, the recombinant form of the human DNase I enzyme, breaks down neutrophil extracellular traps (NET) that include a vast amount of DNA fragments, histones, microbicidal proteins and oxidant enzymes released from necrotic neutrophils in the highly viscous mucus of cystic fibrosis patients. Dornase alfa has been used for decades in patients with cystic fibrosis to reduce the viscoelasticity of respiratory tract secretions, to decrease the severity of respiratory tract infections, and to improve lung function. Previous studies have linked abnormal NET formations to lung diseases, especially to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It is well known that novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia progresses to ARDS and even multiple organ failure. High blood neutrophil levels are an early indicator of COVID-19 and predict severe respiratory diseases. Also it is reported that mucus structure in COVID-19 is very similar to that in cystic fibrosis due to the accumulation of excessive NET in the lungs. In this study, we showed the recovery of three individuals with COVID-19 after including dornase alfa in their treatment. We followed clinical improvement in the radiological analysis (two of three cases), oxygen saturation (Spo2), respiratory rate, disappearance of dyspnoea, coughing and a decrease in NET formation and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral load after the treatment. Also here, we share our preliminary results suggesting that dornase alfa has an anti-viral effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection in a green monkey kidney cell line, Vero, and a bovine kidney cell line, MDBK, without determined cytotoxicity on healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

10.
Circulation ; 142(12): 1176-1189, 2020 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696368

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 infection causes severe pneumonia (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]), but the mechanisms of subsequent respiratory failure and complicating renal and myocardial involvement are poorly understood. In addition, a systemic prothrombotic phenotype has been reported in patients with COVID-19. METHODS: A total of 62 subjects were included in our study (n=38 patients with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction-confirmed COVID-19 and n=24 non-COVID-19 controls). We performed histopathologic assessment of autopsy cases, surface marker-based phenotyping of neutrophils and platelets, and functional assays for platelet, neutrophil functions, and coagulation tests, as well. RESULTS: We provide evidence that organ involvement and prothrombotic features in COVID-19 are linked by immunothrombosis. We show that, in COVID-19, inflammatory microvascular thrombi are present in the lung, kidney, and heart, containing neutrophil extracellular traps associated with platelets and fibrin. Patients with COVID-19 also present with neutrophil-platelet aggregates and a distinct neutrophil and platelet activation pattern in blood, which changes with disease severity. Whereas cases of intermediate severity show an exhausted platelet and hyporeactive neutrophil phenotype, patients severely affected with COVID-19 are characterized by excessive platelet and neutrophil activation in comparison with healthy controls and non-COVID-19 pneumonia. Dysregulated immunothrombosis in severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 pneumonia is linked to both acute respiratory distress syndrome and systemic hypercoagulability. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our data point to immunothrombotic dysregulation as a key marker of disease severity in COVID-19. Further work is necessary to determine the role of immunothrombosis in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Respiratory Insufficiency/etiology , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Blood Coagulation Disorders/diagnosis , Blood Coagulation Disorders/etiology , Blood Platelets/cytology , Blood Platelets/metabolism , Blood Platelets/pathology , COVID-19 , Case-Control Studies , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Extracellular Traps/metabolism , Humans , Kidney/pathology , Lung/pathology , Neutrophils/cytology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Neutrophils/pathology , Pandemics , Phenotype , Platelet Activation , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory Insufficiency/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Thrombosis/complications , Thrombosis/diagnosis
11.
Exp Cell Res ; 394(2): 112101, 2020 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-633801

ABSTRACT

Acute lung injury (ALI) and its more severe form, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are common lung disorders characterized by alveolar-capillary barrier disruption and dyspnea, which can cause substantial morbidity and mortality. Currently, a cluster of acute respiratory illnesses, known as novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-infected pneumonia (NCIP), which allegedly originally occurred in Wuhan, China, has increased rapidly worldwide. The critically ill patients with ARDS have high mortality in subjects with comorbidities. Previously, the excessive recruitment and activation of neutrophils (polymorphonuclear leukocytes [PMNs]), accompanied by neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) formation were reported being implicated in the pathogenesis of ALI/ARDS. However, the direct visualization of lung epithelial injuries caused by NETs, and the qualitative and quantitative evaluations of this damage are still lacking. Additionally, those already reported methods are limited for their neglect of the pathological role exerted by NETs and focusing only on the morphological features of NETosis. Therefore, we established a cell-based assay for detecting NETs during lung epithelial cells-neutrophils co-culture using the xCELLigence system, a recognized real-time, dynamic, label-free, sensitive, and high-throughput apparatus. Our results demonstrated that lung epithelial injuries, reflected by declines in cell index (CI) values, could be induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated PMNs, or NETs in a time and dose-dependent manner. NETs generation was verified to be the major contributor to the cytotoxicity of activated PMNs; protein components of NETs were the prevailing cytotoxic mediators. Moreover, this cell-based assay identified that PMNs from severe pneumonia patients had a high NETs formative potential. Additionally, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and acetaminophen (APAP) were discovered alleviating NETs formation. Thus, this study not only presents a new methodology for detecting the pathophysiologic role of NETs but also lays down a foundation for exploring therapeutic interventions in an effort to cure ALI/ARDS in the clinical setting of severe pneumonia, including the emerging of NCIP.


Subject(s)
Acute Lung Injury/blood , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Extracellular Traps/diagnostic imaging , Neutrophils/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/blood , Acute Lung Injury/chemically induced , Acute Lung Injury/diagnostic imaging , Acute Lung Injury/virology , Animals , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnostic imaging , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Extracellular Traps/virology , Humans , Lipopolysaccharides/toxicity , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Lung/virology , Male , Neutrophils/virology , Pandemics , Pneumonia/blood , Pneumonia/diagnostic imaging , Pneumonia/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnostic imaging , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/pathology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , SARS-CoV-2
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