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1.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 167, 2021 04 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585891

ABSTRACT

The ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has posed a worldwide pandemic and a major global public health threat. The severity and mortality of COVID-19 are associated with virus-induced dysfunctional inflammatory responses and cytokine storms. However, the interplay between host inflammatory responses and SARS-CoV-2 infection remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein, the major structural protein of the virion, promotes the virus-triggered activation of NF-κB signaling. After binding to viral RNA, N protein robustly undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), which recruits TAK1 and IKK complex, the key kinases of NF-κB signaling, to enhance NF-κB activation. Moreover, 1,6-hexanediol, the inhibitor of LLPS, can attenuate the phase separation of N protein and restrict its regulatory functions in NF-κB activation. These results suggest that LLPS of N protein provides a platform to induce NF-κB hyper-activation, which could be a potential therapeutic target against COVID-19 severe pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction , A549 Cells , Acrylates/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/pathology , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Vero Cells
2.
Histol Histopathol ; 36(9): 947-965, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1513241

ABSTRACT

Infection by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) leads to multi-organ failure associated with a cytokine storm and septic shock. The virus evades the mitochondrial production of interferons through its N protein and, from that moment on, it hijacks the functions of these organelles. The aim of this study was to show how the virus kidnaps the mitochondrial machinery for its benefit and survival, leading to alterations of serum parameters and to nitrosative stress (NSS). In a prospective cohort of 15 postmortem patients who died from COVID-19, six markers of mitochondrial function (COX II, COX IV, MnSOD, nitrotyrosine, Bcl-2 and caspase-9) were analyzed by the immune colloidal gold technique in samples from the lung, heart, and liver. Biometric laboratory results from these patients showed alterations in hemoglobin, platelets, creatinine, urea nitrogen, glucose, C-reactive protein, albumin, D-dimer, ferritin, fibrinogen, Ca²âº, K⁺, lactate and troponin. These changes were associated with alterations in the mitochondrial structure and function. The multi-organ dysfunction present in COVID-19 patients may be caused, in part, by damage to the mitochondria that results in an inflammatory state that contributes to NSS, which activates the sepsis cascade and results in increased mortality in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Mitochondria/pathology , Nitrosative Stress/physiology , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e3019-e3026, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501050

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Recent findings indicated that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-related neurological manifestations involve cytokine release syndrome along with endothelial activation, blood brain barrier dysfunction, and immune-mediated mechanisms. Very few studies have fully investigated the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) correlates of SARS-CoV-2 encephalitis. METHODS: Patients with polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and encephalitis (COV-Enc), encephalitis without SARS-CoV-2 infection (ENC), and healthy controls (HC) underwent an extended panel of CSF neuronal (neurofilament light chain [NfL], T-tau), glial (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP], soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 [sTREM2], chitinase-3-like protein 1 [YKL-40]) and inflammatory biomarkers (interleukin [IL]-1ß, IL-6, Il-8, tumor necrosis factor [TNF] α, CXCL-13, and ß2-microglobulin). RESULTS: Thirteen COV-Enc, 21 ENC, and 18 HC entered the study. In COV-Enc cases, CSF was negative for SARS-CoV-2 real-time PCR but exhibited increased IL-8 levels independently from presence of pleocytosis/hyperproteinorracchia. COV-Enc patients showed increased IL-6, TNF- α, and ß2-microglobulin and glial markers (GFAP, sTREM2, YKL-40) levels similar to ENC but normal CXCL13 levels. Neuronal markers NfL and T-tau were abnormal only in severe cases. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2-related encephalitis were associated with prominent glial activation and neuroinflammatory markers, whereas neuronal markers were increased in severe cases only. The pattern of CSF alterations suggested a cytokine-release syndrome as the main inflammatory mechanism of SARS-CoV-2-related encephalitis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Encephalitis , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Engineering (Beijing) ; 7(7): 958-965, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482579

ABSTRACT

The longitudinal immunologic status of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected patients and its association with the clinical outcome are barely known. Thus, we sought to analyze the temporal profiles of specific antibodies, as well as the associations between the antibodies, proinflammatory cytokines, and survival of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A total of 1830 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases were recruited. The temporal profiles of the virus, antibodies, and cytokines of the patients until 12 weeks since illness onset were fitted by the locally weighted scatter plot smoothing method. The mediation effect of cytokines on the associations between antibody responses and survival were explored by mediation analysis. Of the 1830 patients, 1435 were detectable for SARS-CoV-2, while 395 were positive in specific antibodies only. Of the 1435 patients, 2.4% presented seroconversion for neither immunoglobulin G (IgG) nor immunoglobulin M (IgM) during hospitalization. The seropositive rates of IgG and IgM were 29.6% and 48.1%, respectively, in the first week, and plateaued within five weeks. For the patients discharged from the hospital, the IgM decreased slowly, while high levels of IgG were maintained at around 188 AU·mL-1 for the 12 weeks since illness onset. In contrast, in the patients who subsequently died, IgM declined rapidly and IgG dropped to 87 AU·mL-1 at the twelfth week. Elevated interleukin-6, interleukin-8, interleukin-10, interleukin-1ß, interleukin-2R, and tumor necrosis factor-α levels were observed in the deceased patients in comparison with the discharged patients, and 12.5% of the association between IgG level and mortality risk was mediated by these cytokines. Our study deciphers the temporal profiles of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies within the 12 weeks since illness onset and indicates the protective effect of antibody response on survival, which may help to guide prognosis estimation.

5.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 8(3)2020 Sep 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438751

ABSTRACT

In modern vaccines, adjuvants can be sophisticated immunological tools to promote robust and long-lasting protection against prevalent diseases. However, there is an urgent need to improve immunogenicity of vaccines in order to protect mankind from life-threatening diseases such as AIDS, malaria or, most recently, COVID-19. Therefore, it is important to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of action of vaccine adjuvants, which generally trigger the innate immune system to enhance signal transition to adaptive immunity, resulting in pathogen-specific protection. Thus, improved understanding of vaccine adjuvant mechanisms may aid in the design of "intelligent" vaccines to provide robust protection from pathogens. Various commonly used clinical adjuvants, such as aluminium salts, saponins or emulsions, have been identified as activators of inflammasomes - multiprotein signalling platforms that drive activation of inflammatory caspases, resulting in secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines of the IL-1 family. Importantly, these cytokines affect the cellular and humoral arms of adaptive immunity, which indicates that inflammasomes represent a valuable target of vaccine adjuvants. In this review, we highlight the impact of different inflammasomes on vaccine adjuvant-induced immune responses regarding their mechanisms and immunogenicity. In this context, we focus on clinically relevant adjuvants that have been shown to activate the NLRP3 inflammasome and also present various experimental adjuvants that activate the NLRP3-, NLRC4-, AIM2-, pyrin-, or non-canonical inflammasomes and could have the potential to improve future vaccines. Together, we provide a comprehensive overview on vaccine adjuvants that are known, or suggested, to promote immunogenicity through inflammasome-mediated signalling.

6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(6)2021 03 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389362

ABSTRACT

There is growing literature about the SARS-CoV-2 pathogenetic effects exerted during pregnancy and whether vertical transmission or premature birth is possible. It is not well known whether changes in the immune system of pregnant women may lead to a marked susceptibility to infectious processes and the risk of adverse maternal and neonatal complications such as preterm birth, spontaneous abortion, hospitalization in an intensive care unit, transmission to the fetus or newborns, and fetal mortality are poorly understood. Along with this ongoing debate, it is not well defined whether, during pregnancy, the role of host susceptibility in producing a specific inflammatory response to SARS-CoV-2 may represent distinctive markers of risk of vertical transmission. Furthermore, SARS-CoV-2 impact on the vaginal microbiome has not yet been described, despite mounting evidence on its possible effect on the gastrointestinal microbiome and its influence on infectious diseases and preterm labor. This report describes the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on a twin pregnancy diagnosed with infection at the third trimester of gestation including tissue infections, inflammatory response, antibody production, cytokine concentration, and vaginal microbiome composition. We identified a pattern of cytokines including IL1-Ra, IL-9 G-CSF, IL-12, and IL-8 differently expressed, already associated with previously infected patients. We detected a similar concentration of almost all the cytokines tested in both twins, suggesting that the SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine storm is not substantially impaired during the placental passage. The analysis of the vaginal microbiome did not show relevant signs of dysbiosis, similar to other healthy pregnant women and twin healthy pregnancies. The aim of this report was to analyze the immunological response against SARS-CoV-2 infection and virus tissue tropism in a twin pregnancy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Premature Birth , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Outcome , Pregnancy, Twin , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2790, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387341

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is of zoonotic origin and contains a PRRA polybasic cleavage motif which is considered critical for efficient infection and transmission in humans. We previously reported on a panel of attenuated SARS-CoV-2 variants with deletions at the S1/S2 junction of the spike protein. Here, we characterize pathogenicity, immunogenicity, and protective ability of a further cell-adapted SARS-CoV-2 variant, Ca-DelMut, in in vitro and in vivo systems. Ca-DelMut replicates more efficiently than wild type or parental virus in Vero E6 cells, but causes no apparent disease in hamsters, despite replicating in respiratory tissues. Unlike wild type virus, Ca-DelMut causes no obvious pathological changes and does not induce elevation of proinflammatory cytokines, but still triggers a strong neutralizing antibody and T cell response in hamsters and mice. Ca-DelMut immunized hamsters challenged with wild type SARS-CoV-2 are fully protected, with little sign of virus replication in the upper or lower respiratory tract, demonstrating sterilizing immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virulence/genetics , Virulence/immunology
8.
Cell Res ; 31(8): 847-860, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387284

ABSTRACT

Cytokine storm and multi-organ failure are the main causes of SARS-CoV-2-related death. However, the origin of excessive damages caused by SARS-CoV-2 remains largely unknown. Here we show that the SARS-CoV-2 envelope (2-E) protein alone is able to cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)-like damages in vitro and in vivo. 2-E proteins were found to form a type of pH-sensitive cation channels in bilayer lipid membranes. As observed in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, heterologous expression of 2-E channels induced rapid cell death in various susceptible cell types and robust secretion of cytokines and chemokines in macrophages. Intravenous administration of purified 2-E protein into mice caused ARDS-like pathological damages in lung and spleen. A dominant negative mutation lowering 2-E channel activity attenuated cell death and SARS-CoV-2 production. Newly identified channel inhibitors exhibited potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity and excellent cell protective activity in vitro and these activities were positively correlated with inhibition of 2-E channel. Importantly, prophylactic and therapeutic administration of the channel inhibitor effectively reduced both the viral load and secretion of inflammation cytokines in lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE-2). Our study supports that 2-E is a promising drug target against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Apoptosis , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Half-Life , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spleen/metabolism , Spleen/pathology , Viral Load , Virulence
9.
J Infect Dis ; 224(3): 395-406, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338702

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) clinical expression is pleiomorphic, severity is related to age and comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, and pathophysiology involves aberrant immune activation and lymphopenia. We wondered if the myeloid compartment was affected during COVID-19 and if monocytes and macrophages could be infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). METHODS: Monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) from COVID-19 patients and controls were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and extensively investigated with immunofluorescence, viral RNA extraction and quantification, and total RNA extraction followed by reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction using specific primers, supernatant cytokines (interleukins 6, 10, and 1ß; interferon-ß; transforming growth factor-ß1, and tumor necrosis factor-α), and flow cytometry. The effect of M1- vs M2-type or no polarization prior to infection was assessed. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 efficiently infected monocytes and MDMs, but their infection is abortive. Infection was associated with immunoregulatory cytokines secretion and the induction of a macrophagic specific transcriptional program characterized by the upregulation of M2-type molecules. In vitro polarization did not account for permissivity to SARS-CoV-2, since M1- and M2-type MDMs were similarly infected. In COVID-19 patients, monocytes exhibited lower counts affecting all subsets, decreased expression of HLA-DR, and increased expression of CD163, irrespective of severity. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 drives monocytes and macrophages to induce host immunoparalysis for the benefit of COVID-19 progression.SARS-CoV-2 infection of macrophages induces a specific M2 transcriptional program. In Covid-19 patients, monocyte subsets were decreased associated with up-expression of the immunoregulatory molecule CD163 suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 drives immune system for the benefit of Covid-19 disease progression.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Macrophages/virology , Monocytes/virology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Flow Cytometry , Fluorescent Antibody Technique , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/immunology , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
10.
J Biol Chem ; 296: 100630, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1333548

ABSTRACT

Unchecked inflammation can result in severe diseases with high mortality, such as macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). MAS and associated cytokine storms have been observed in COVID-19 patients exhibiting systemic hyperinflammation. Interleukin-18 (IL-18), a proinflammatory cytokine belonging to the IL-1 family, is elevated in both MAS and COVID-19 patients, and its level is known to correlate with the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. IL-18 binds its specific receptor IL-1 receptor 5 (IL-1R5, also known as IL-18 receptor alpha chain), leading to the recruitment of the coreceptor, IL-1 receptor 7 (IL-1R7, also known as IL-18 receptor beta chain). This heterotrimeric complex then initiates downstream signaling, resulting in systemic and local inflammation. Here, we developed a novel humanized monoclonal anti-IL-1R7 antibody to specifically block the activity of IL-18 and its inflammatory signaling. We characterized the function of this antibody in human cell lines, in freshly obtained peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in human whole blood cultures. We found that the anti-IL-1R7 antibody significantly suppressed IL-18-mediated NFκB activation, reduced IL-18-stimulated IFNγ and IL-6 production in human cell lines, and reduced IL-18-induced IFNγ, IL-6, and TNFα production in PBMCs. Moreover, the anti-IL-1R7 antibody significantly inhibited LPS- and Candida albicans-induced IFNγ production in PBMCs, as well as LPS-induced IFNγ production in whole blood cultures. Our data suggest that blocking IL-1R7 could represent a potential therapeutic strategy to specifically modulate IL-18 signaling and may warrant further investigation into its clinical potential for treating IL-18-mediated diseases, including MAS and COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Interleukin-18/genetics , Receptors, Interleukin-18/genetics , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , COVID-19/drug therapy , Candida albicans/growth & development , Candida albicans/pathogenicity , Gene Expression Regulation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunologic Factors/biosynthesis , Inflammation , Interferon-gamma/genetics , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Interleukin-18/immunology , Interleukin-6/genetics , Interleukin-6/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/drug effects , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/microbiology , Lipopolysaccharides/antagonists & inhibitors , Lipopolysaccharides/pharmacology , Macrophage Activation Syndrome/drug therapy , NF-kappa B/genetics , NF-kappa B/immunology , Primary Cell Culture , Receptors, Interleukin-18/antagonists & inhibitors , Receptors, Interleukin-18/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/genetics , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/immunology
11.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(598)2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1314110

ABSTRACT

Bacterial sepsis and severe COVID-19 share similar clinical manifestations and are both associated with dysregulation of the myeloid cell compartment. We previously reported an expanded CD14+ monocyte state, MS1, in patients with bacterial sepsis and validated expansion of this cell subpopulation in publicly available transcriptomics data. Here, using published datasets, we show that the gene expression program associated with MS1 correlated with sepsis severity and was up-regulated in monocytes from patients with severe COVID-19. To examine the ontogeny and function of MS1 cells, we developed a cellular model for inducing CD14+ MS1 monocytes from healthy bone marrow hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). We found that plasma from patients with bacterial sepsis or COVID-19 induced myelopoiesis in HSPCs in vitro and expression of the MS1 gene program in monocytes and neutrophils that differentiated from these HSPCs. Furthermore, we found that plasma concentrations of IL-6, and to a lesser extent IL-10, correlated with increased myeloid cell output from HSPCs in vitro and enhanced expression of the MS1 gene program. We validated the requirement for these two cytokines to induce the MS1 gene program through CRISPR-Cas9 editing of their receptors in HSPCs. Using this cellular model system, we demonstrated that induced MS1 cells were broadly immunosuppressive and showed decreased responsiveness to stimulation with a synthetic RNA analog. Our in vitro study suggests a potential role for systemic cytokines in inducing myelopoiesis during severe bacterial or SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation , Sepsis , Humans , Myeloid Cells , SARS-CoV-2
12.
J Biol Regul Homeost Agents ; 35(2): 423-427, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298274

ABSTRACT

Acute severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) which is associated with inflammation, thrombosis edema, hemorrhage, intra-alveolar fibrin deposition, and vascular and pulmonary damage. In COVID-19, the coronavirus activates macrophages by inducing the generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-18 and TNF] that can damage endothelial cells, activate platelets and neutrophils to produce thromboxane A2 (TxA2), and mediate thrombus generation. In severe cases, all these phenomena can lead to patient death. The binding of SARS-CoV-2 to the Toll Like Receptor (TLR) results in the release of pro-IL-1ß that is cleaved by caspase-1, followed by the production of active mature IL-1ß which is the most important cytokine in causing fever and inflammation. Its activation in COVID-19 can cause a "cytokine storm" with serious biological and clinical consequences. Blockade of IL-1 with inhibitory and anti-inflammatory cytokines represents a new therapeutic strategy also for COVID-19. Recently, very rare allergic reactions to vaccines have been reported, with phenomena of pulmonary thrombosis. These side effects have raised substantial concern in the population. Highly allergic subjects should therefore be vaccinated under strict medical supervision. COVID-19 has accelerated vaccine therapy but also the use of drugs and monoclonal antibodies (mABs) which have been used in COVID-19 therapy. They are primarily adopted to treat high-risk mild-to-moderate non-hospitalized patients, and it has been noted that the administration of two mABs gave better results. mABs, other than polyclonal plasma antibodies from infected subjects with SARS-CoV-2, are produced in the laboratory and are intended to fight SARS-CoV-2. They bind specifically to the antigenic determinant of the spike protein, inhibiting the pathogenicity of the virus. The most suitable individuals for mAB therapy are people at particular risk, such as the elderly and those with serious chronic diseases including diabetics, hypertension and obesity, including subjects suffering from cardiovascular diseases. These antibodies have a well-predetermined target, they bind mainly to the protein S (formed by the S1A, B, C and D subtypes), located on the viral surface, and to the S2 protein that acts as a fuser between the virus and the cell membrane. Since mABs are derived from a single splenic immune cell, they are identical and form a cell clone which can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 by binding to the epitope of the virus. However, this COVID-19 therapy may cause several side effects such as mild pain, bleeding, bruising of the skin, soreness, swelling, thrombotic-type episodes, arterial hypertension, changes in heart activity, slowed bone marrow activity, impaired renal function, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, allergic reaction, fever, and possible subsequent infection may occur at the site of injection. In conclusion, the studies promoting mAB therapy in COVID-19 are very promising but the results are not yet definitive and more investigations are needed to certify both their good neutralizing effects of SARS-CoV-2, and to eliminate, or at least mitigate, the harmful side effects.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Endothelial Cells , Humans
13.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(6): 643-654, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1291133

ABSTRACT

Circulating concentrations of the pleiotropic cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) are known to be increased in pro-inflammatory critical care syndromes, such as sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Elevations in serum IL-6 concentrations in patients with severe COVID-19 have led to renewed interest in the cytokine as a therapeutic target. However, although the pro-inflammatory properties of IL-6 are widely known, the cytokine also has a series of important physiological and anti-inflammatory functions. An adequate understanding of the complex processes by which IL-6 signalling occurs is crucial for the correct interpretation of IL-6 concentrations in the blood or lung, the use of IL-6 as a critical care biomarker, or the design of effective anti-IL-6 strategies. Here, we outline the role of IL-6 in health and disease, explain the different types of IL-6 signalling and their contribution to the net biological effect of the cytokine, describe the approaches to IL-6 inhibition that are currently available, and discuss implications for the future use of treatments such as tocilizumab in the critical care setting.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized , COVID-19 , Interleukin-6 , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/pharmacology , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/therapy , Critical Illness , Humans , Immunologic Factors/immunology , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Interleukin-6/antagonists & inhibitors , Interleukin-6/blood , Interleukin-6/immunology , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(26)2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276011

ABSTRACT

Patients with severe COVID-19 infection exhibit a low level of oxygen in affected tissue and blood. To understand the pathophysiology of COVID-19 infection, it is therefore necessary to understand cell function during hypoxia. We investigated aspects of human monocyte activation under hypoxic conditions. HMGB1 is an alarmin released by stressed cells. Under normoxic conditions, HMGB1 activates interferon regulatory factor (IRF)5 and nuclear factor-κB in monocytes, leading to expression of type I interferon (IFN) and inflammatory cytokines including tumor necrosis factor α, and interleukin 1ß, respectively. When hypoxic monocytes are activated by HMGB1, they produce proinflammatory cytokines but fail to produce type I IFN. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, induced by hypoxia, functions as a direct transcriptional repressor of IRF5 and IRF3. As hypoxia is a stressor that induces secretion of HMGB1 by epithelial cells, hypoxia establishes a microenvironment that favors monocyte production of inflammatory cytokines but not IFN. These findings have implications for the pathogenesis of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Cell Hypoxia/immunology , Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit/immunology , Monocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cells, Cultured , Cytokines/immunology , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factors/metabolism , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Monocytes/metabolism , NF-kappa B/immunology , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Oxygen/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism
15.
EBioMedicine ; 68: 103390, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1267655

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) continues to challenge the limits of our knowledge and our healthcare system. Here we sought to define the host immune response, a.k.a, the "cytokine storm" that has been implicated in fatal COVID-19 using an AI-based approach. METHOD: Over 45,000 transcriptomic datasets of viral pandemics were analyzed to extract a 166-gene signature using ACE2 as a 'seed' gene; ACE2 was rationalized because it encodes the receptor that facilitates the entry of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) into host cells. An AI-based approach was used to explore the utility of the signature in navigating the uncharted territory of Covid-19, setting therapeutic goals, and finding therapeutic solutions. FINDINGS: The 166-gene signature was surprisingly conserved across all viral pandemics, including COVID-19, and a subset of 20-genes classified disease severity, inspiring the nomenclatures ViP and severe-ViP signatures, respectively. The ViP signatures pinpointed a paradoxical phenomenon wherein lung epithelial and myeloid cells mount an IL15 cytokine storm, and epithelial and NK cell senescence and apoptosis determine severity/fatality. Precise therapeutic goals could be formulated; these goals were met in high-dose SARS-CoV-2-challenged hamsters using either neutralizing antibodies that abrogate SARS-CoV-2•ACE2 engagement or a directly acting antiviral agent, EIDD-2801. IL15/IL15RA were elevated in the lungs of patients with fatal disease, and plasma levels of the cytokine prognosticated disease severity. INTERPRETATION: The ViP signatures provide a quantitative and qualitative framework for titrating the immune response in viral pandemics and may serve as a powerful unbiased tool to rapidly assess disease severity and vet candidate drugs. FUNDING: This work was supported by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) [grants CA151673 and GM138385 (to DS) and AI141630 (to P.G), DK107585-05S1 (SD) and AI155696 (to P.G, D.S and S.D), U19-AI142742 (to S. C, CCHI: Cooperative Centers for Human Immunology)]; Research Grants Program Office (RGPO) from the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) (R00RG2628 & R00RG2642 to P.G, D.S and S.D); the UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center (to P.G, D.S and S.D); LJI Institutional Funds (to S.C); the VA San Diego Healthcare System Institutional funds (to L.C.A). GDK was supported through The American Association of Immunologists Intersect Fellowship Program for Computational Scientists and Immunologists. ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: The host immune response in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/genetics , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Interleukin-15/genetics , Receptors, Interleukin-15/genetics , Virus Diseases/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Artificial Intelligence , Autopsy , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Cricetinae , Cytidine/administration & dosage , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Cytidine/pharmacology , Databases, Genetic , Disease Models, Animal , Gene Regulatory Networks/drug effects , Genetic Markers/drug effects , Humans , Hydroxylamines/administration & dosage , Hydroxylamines/pharmacology , Interleukin-15/blood , Lung/immunology , Mesocricetus , Pandemics , Receptors, Interleukin-15/blood , Virus Diseases/immunology
16.
Cell Res ; 31(8): 847-860, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1265947

ABSTRACT

Cytokine storm and multi-organ failure are the main causes of SARS-CoV-2-related death. However, the origin of excessive damages caused by SARS-CoV-2 remains largely unknown. Here we show that the SARS-CoV-2 envelope (2-E) protein alone is able to cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)-like damages in vitro and in vivo. 2-E proteins were found to form a type of pH-sensitive cation channels in bilayer lipid membranes. As observed in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, heterologous expression of 2-E channels induced rapid cell death in various susceptible cell types and robust secretion of cytokines and chemokines in macrophages. Intravenous administration of purified 2-E protein into mice caused ARDS-like pathological damages in lung and spleen. A dominant negative mutation lowering 2-E channel activity attenuated cell death and SARS-CoV-2 production. Newly identified channel inhibitors exhibited potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity and excellent cell protective activity in vitro and these activities were positively correlated with inhibition of 2-E channel. Importantly, prophylactic and therapeutic administration of the channel inhibitor effectively reduced both the viral load and secretion of inflammation cytokines in lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE-2). Our study supports that 2-E is a promising drug target against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Apoptosis , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Half-Life , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Mutagenesis, Site-Directed , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spleen/metabolism , Spleen/pathology , Viral Load , Virulence
17.
J Virol ; 95(18): e0060021, 2021 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262381

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are commonly characterized by a unique discontinuous RNA transcriptional synthesis strategy guided by transcription-regulating sequences (TRSs). However, the details of RNA synthesis in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have not been fully elucidated. Here, we present a time-scaled, gene-comparable transcriptome of SARS-CoV-2, demonstrating that ACGAAC functions as a core TRS guiding the discontinuous RNA synthesis of SARS-CoV-2 from a holistic perspective. During infection, viral transcription, rather than genome replication, dominates all viral RNA synthesis activities. The most highly expressed viral gene is the nucleocapsid gene, followed by ORF7 and ORF3 genes, while the envelope gene shows the lowest expression. Host transcription dysregulation keeps exacerbating after viral RNA synthesis reaches a maximum. The most enriched host pathways are metabolism related. Two of them (cholesterol and valine metabolism) affect viral replication in reverse. Furthermore, the activation of numerous cytokines emerges before large-scale viral RNA synthesis. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for the current severe global health emergency that began at the end of 2019. Although the universal transcriptional strategies of coronaviruses are preliminarily understood, the details of RNA synthesis, especially the time-matched transcription level of each SARS-CoV-2 gene and the principles of subgenomic mRNA synthesis, are not clear. The coterminal subgenomic mRNAs of SARS-CoV-2 present obstacles in identifying the expression of most genes by PCR-based methods, which are exacerbated by the lack of related antibodies. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2-related metabolic imbalance and cytokine storm are receiving increasing attention from both clinical and mechanistic perspectives. Our transcriptomic research provides information on both viral RNA synthesis and host responses, in which the transcription-regulating sequences and transcription levels of viral genes are demonstrated, and the metabolic dysregulation and cytokine levels identified at the host cellular level support the development of novel medical treatment strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Lung/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Transcriptome , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Lung/virology , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
18.
Sci Transl Med ; 13(598)2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262379

ABSTRACT

Bacterial sepsis and severe COVID-19 share similar clinical manifestations and are both associated with dysregulation of the myeloid cell compartment. We previously reported an expanded CD14+ monocyte state, MS1, in patients with bacterial sepsis and validated expansion of this cell subpopulation in publicly available transcriptomics data. Here, using published datasets, we show that the gene expression program associated with MS1 correlated with sepsis severity and was up-regulated in monocytes from patients with severe COVID-19. To examine the ontogeny and function of MS1 cells, we developed a cellular model for inducing CD14+ MS1 monocytes from healthy bone marrow hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). We found that plasma from patients with bacterial sepsis or COVID-19 induced myelopoiesis in HSPCs in vitro and expression of the MS1 gene program in monocytes and neutrophils that differentiated from these HSPCs. Furthermore, we found that plasma concentrations of IL-6, and to a lesser extent IL-10, correlated with increased myeloid cell output from HSPCs in vitro and enhanced expression of the MS1 gene program. We validated the requirement for these two cytokines to induce the MS1 gene program through CRISPR-Cas9 editing of their receptors in HSPCs. Using this cellular model system, we demonstrated that induced MS1 cells were broadly immunosuppressive and showed decreased responsiveness to stimulation with a synthetic RNA analog. Our in vitro study suggests a potential role for systemic cytokines in inducing myelopoiesis during severe bacterial or SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation , Sepsis , Humans , Myeloid Cells , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Drugs Today (Barc) ; 57(5): 347-357, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261291

ABSTRACT

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can be triggered by injury, trauma, infection and medications. Genetic and immunologic studies have highlighted the importance of the interleukin (IL)-23/T-helper 17 (Th17) pathway in systemic psoriasis pathogenesis. Main IL-23 is an upstream regulatory cytokine with direct effects on epidermal keratinocytes and other resident skin cells while IL-17, a downstream molecule, can activate inflammatory responses in different cells across a diversity of organs. Disease modification could be achieved with drugs that can slow down the biological processes that cause the persistent inflammation in moderate to severe psoriasis. Early intervention with anti-IL-17 and anti-IL-23 agents in new-onset moderate to severe plaque psoriasis might modify the natural course of the disease. Perhaps we are not simply seeing a pharmacologic and mechanistic effect of new-generation biologics but eventually a disease modification process. In this short report we underline the main available data which supports an important role for IL-17 blockade and address whether these new drugs targeting the IL-23/IL-17 axis could be disease-modifying agents in plaque psoriasis. This type of data gains more relevance in the current pandemic era, where chronic patients undergoing earlier treatment may have better outcomes and consequently avoid constant hospital visits.


Subject(s)
Biological Products , Psoriasis , Cytokines , Humans , Interleukin-17 , Psoriasis/drug therapy
20.
Inflamm Res ; 70(8): 877-889, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258183

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes cytokine release syndrome (CRS), leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute kidney and cardiac injury, liver dysfunction, and multiorgan failure. Although several studies have discussed the role of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) in viral infections, such as influenzae and SARS, it remains unexplored in the pathophysiology of COVID-19. 5-LOX acts on free arachidonic acid (AA) to form proinflammatory leukotrienes (LTs). Of note, numerous cells involved with COVID-19 (e.g., inflammatory and smooth muscle cells, platelets, and vascular endothelium) widely express leukotriene receptors. Moreover, 5-LOX metabolites induce the release of cytokines (e.g., tumour necrosis factor-α [TNF-α], interleukin-1α [IL-1α], and interleukin-1ß [IL-1ß]) and express tissue factor on cell membranes and activate plasmin. Since macrophages, monocytes, neutrophils, and eosinophils can express lipoxygenases, activation of 5-LOX and the subsequent release of LTs may contribute to the severity of COVID-19. This review sheds light on the potential implications of 5-LOX in SARS-CoV-2-mediated infection and the anticipated therapeutic role of 5-LOX inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase/metabolism , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/enzymology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Interleukins/metabolism , Lipoxygenase Inhibitors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Arachidonic Acid/metabolism , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Cytokines/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Humans , Inflammation , Leukotrienes/metabolism , Treatment Outcome , Virus Diseases/drug therapy
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