CyTOF-mediated characterisation of the myeloid cell compartment in severe COVID-19
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a mild to moderate respiratory tract infection. However, a subset of patients progresses to severe disease and respiratory failure. The mechanism of protective immunity in mild forms and the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 associated with increased neutrophil counts and dysregulated immune responses remain unclear. In a dual-center, two-cohort study, we applied single-cell proteomics of whole-blood and peripheral-blood mononuclear cells using mass cytometry and flow cytometry, respectively, to determine changes in immune cell composition and activation in mild versus severe COVID-19 over time. HLA-DRhiCD11chi inflammatory monocytes were elevated in mild COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 was marked by occurrence of neutrophil precursors, as evidence of emergency myelopoiesis, dysfunctional mature neutrophils, and HLA-DRlo monocytes. Our study provides detailed insights into the systemic immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and reveals profound alterations in the myeloid cell compartment associated with severe COVID-19.
Birgit is Professor of “Immune Tolerance” at the Institute of Medical Immunology. She has developed validated immune monitoring tools for application in investigator-driven clinical trials. She is coordinating the immune monitoring of three big multi-center investigator-driven clinical trials, sponsored by the European committee, aiming on e.g. personalized treatment and finally tolerance induction in solid organ transplant patients. In the last month Birgit successfully applied her expertise in deciphering the pathomechanisms of severe COVID-19.
Immune monitoring, COVID-19, Immune cell composition and functionality
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