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    Preventing the progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 is an unsolved challenge. The involvement of T cell immunity in this exacerbation remains unclear. To identify predictive markers of COVID-19 progress and outcome, we analyzed peripheral blood of 10 COVID-19-associated ARDS patients and 35 mild/moderate COVID-19 patients, not requiring intensive care. Using multi-parametric flow cytometry, we compared quantitative, phenotypic, and functional characteristics of circulating bulk immune cells, as well as SARS-CoV-2 S-protein-reactive T cells between the two groups. ARDS patients demonstrated significantly higher S-protein-reactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells compared to non-ARDS patients. Of interest, comparison of circulating bulk T cells in ARDS patients to non-ARDS patients demonstrated decreased frequencies of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets, with activated memory/effector T cells expressing tissue migration molecule CD11a++. Importantly, survival from ARDS (4/10) was accompanied by a recovery of the CD11a++ T cell subsets in peripheral blood. Conclusively, data on S-protein-reactive polyfunctional T cells indicate the ability of ARDS patients to generate antiviral protection. Furthermore, decreased frequencies of activated memory/effector T cells expressing tissue migratory molecule CD11a++ observed in circulation of ARDS patients might suggest their involvement in ARDS development and propose the CD11a-based immune signature as a possible prognostic marker. Copyright © 2020 The American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Moritz Anft, Krystallenia Paniskaki, Arturo Blazquez-Navarro, Adrian Doevelaar, Felix S Seibert, Bodo Hölzer, Sarah Skrzypczyk, Eva Kohut, Julia Kurek, Jan Zapka, Patrizia Wehler, Sviatlana Kaliszczyk, Sharon Bajda, Constantin J Thieme, Toralf Roch, Margarethe Justine Konik, Marc Moritz Berger, Thorsten Brenner, Uwe Kölsch, Toni L Meister, Stephanie Pfaender, Eike Steinmann, Clemens Tempfer, Carsten Watzl, Sebastian Dolff, Ulf Dittmer, Mohamed Abou-El-Enein, Timm H Westhoff, Oliver Witzke, Ulrik Stervbo, Nina Babel. COVID-19-Induced ARDS Is Associated with Decreased Frequency of Activated Memory/Effector T Cells Expressing CD11a+. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. 2020 Dec 02;28(12):2691-2702

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    PMID: 33186542

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