Tissue-specific immunopathology in fatal COVID-19
MetadataShow full item record
Rationale: In life-threatening Covid-19, corticosteroids reduce mortality, suggesting that immune responses have a causal role in death. Whether this deleterious inflammation is primarily a direct reaction to the presence of SARS-CoV-2 or an independent immunopathologic process is unknown. Objectives: To determine SARS-CoV-2 organotropism and organ-specific inflammatory responses, and the relationships between viral presence, inflammation, and organ injury. Methods: Tissue was acquired from eleven detailed post-mortem examinations. SARS-CoV-2 organotropism was mapped by multiplex PCR and sequencing, with cellular resolution achieved by in situ viral spike protein detection. Histological evidence of inflammation was quantified from 37 anatomical sites, and the pulmonary immune response characterized by multiplex immunofluorescence. Measurements and main results: Multiple aberrant immune responses in fatal Covid-19 were found, principally involving the lung and reticuloendothelial system, and these were not clearly topologically associated with the virus. Inflammation and organ dysfunction did not map to the tissue and cellular distribution of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and protein, both between and within tissues. An arteritis was identified in the lung, which was further characterised as a monocyte/myeloid-rich vasculitis, and occurred along with an influx of macrophage/monocyte-lineage cells into the pulmonary parenchyma. In addition, stereotyped abnormal reticulo-endothelial responses, including excessive reactive plasmacytosis and iron-laden macrophages, were present and dissociated from viral presence in lymphoid tissues. Conclusions: Tissue-specific immunopathology occurs in Covid-19, implicating a significant component of immune-mediated, virus-independent immunopathology as a primary mechanism in severe disease. Our data highlight novel immunopathological mechanisms, and validate ongoing and future efforts to therapeutically target aberrant macrophage and plasma cell responses as well as promoting pathogen tolerance in Covid-19.
ICECAP consortium , Dorward , D A , Russell , C D , Um , I H , Elshani , M , Armstrong , S D , Penrice-Randal , R , Millar , T , Lerpiniere , C E B , Tagliavini , G , Hartley , C S , Randle , N P , Gachanja , N N , Potey , P M D , Dong , X , Anderson , A M , Campbell , V L , Duguid , A J , Al Qsous , W , BouHaidar , R , Baillie , J K , Dhaliwal , K , Wallace , W A , Bellamy , C O C , Prost , S , Smith , C , Hiscox , J A , Harrison , D J & Lucas , C D 2021 , ' Tissue-specific immunopathology in fatal COVID-19 ' , American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine , vol. 203 , no. 2 , pp. 192-201 . https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.202008-3265OC
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Copyright © 2021 by the American Thoracic Society This article is open access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/).
DescriptionFunding: Inflammation in COVID-19: Exploration of Critical Aspects of Pathogenesis (ICECAP) receives funding and support from the Chief Scientist Office (RapidResearch in COVID-19 programme [RARC-19] funding call, “Inflammation in Covid-19: Exploration of Critical Aspects of Pathogenesis; COV/EDI/20/10” to D.A.D., C.D.L., C.D.R., J.K.B., and D.J.H.), LifeArc (through the University of Edinburgh STOPCOVID funding award to K.D., D.A.D., and C.D.L.), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (Coronavirus Disease [COVID-19] Rapid Response Initiative; MR/V028790/1 to C.D.L., D.A.D., and J.A.H.), and Medical Research Scotland (CVG-1722-2020 to D.A.D., C.D.L., C.D.R., J.K.B., and D.J.H.). C.D.L. is funded by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Career Development Fellowship(206566/Z/17/Z). J.K.B. and C.D.R. are supported by the Medical Research Council (grant MC_PC_19059) as part of the International Severe AcuteRespiratory Infection Consortium Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium (ISARIC-4C). D.J.H., I.H.U., and M.E. are supported by the Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics. S.P. is supported by Kidney Research UK, and G.T. is supported by the Melville Trust for the Cure and Care of Cancer. Identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and sequencing work was supported by theU.S. Food and Drug Administration grant HHSF223201510104C (“Ebola Virus Disease: correlates of protection, determinants of outcome and clinicalmanagement”; amended to incorporate urgent COVID-19 studies) and contract 75F40120C00085 (“Characterization of severe coronavirus infection inhumans and model systems for medical countermeasure development and evaluation”; awarded to J.A.H.). J.A.H. is also funded by the Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases Research and the Alder Hey Charity. R.P.-R. is directly supported by the Medical Research Council Discovery Medicine North Doctoral Training Partnership. The group of J.A.H. is supported by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at the University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England and in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Oxford.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.