Tissue proteomic analysis identifies mechanisms and stages of immunopathology in fatal COVID-19
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Immunopathology occurs in the lung and spleen in fatal COVID-19, involving monocytes/macrophages and plasma cells. Anti-inflammatory therapy reduces mortality but additional therapeutic targets are required. We aimed to gain mechanistic insight into COVID-19 immunopathology by targeted proteomic analysis of pulmonary and splenic tissues. Lung parenchymal and splenic tissue was obtained from 13 post-mortem examinations of patients with fatal COVID-19. Control tissue was obtained from cancer resection samples (lung) and deceased organ donors (spleen). Protein was extracted from tissue by phenol extraction. Olink® multiplex immunoassay panels were used for protein detection and quantification. Proteins with increased abundance in the lung included MCP-3, antiviral TRIM21 and pro-thrombotic TYMP. OSM and EN-RAGE/S100A12 abundance was correlated, and associated with inflammation severity. Unsupervised clustering identified ‘early viral’ and ‘late inflammatory’ clusters with distinct protein abundance profiles, and differences in illness duration prior to death and presence of viral RNA. In the spleen, lymphocyte chemotactic factors and CD8A were decreased in abundance, and pro-apoptotic factors were increased. B-cell receptor signalling pathway components and macrophage colony stimulating factor (CSF-1) were also increased. Additional evidence for a sub-set of host factors (including DDX58, OSM, TYMP, IL-18, MCP-3 and CSF-1) was provided by overlap between (i) differential abundance in spleen and lung tissue, (ii) meta-analysis of existing datasets, and (iii) plasma proteomic data. This proteomic analysis of lung parenchymal and splenic tissue from fatal COVID-19 provides mechanistic insight into tissue anti-viral responses, inflammation and disease stages, macrophage involvement, pulmonary thrombosis, splenic B-cell activation and lymphocyte depletion.
Russell , C D , Valanciute , A , Gachanja , N N , Stephen , J , Penrice-Randal , R , Armstrong , S D , Clohisey , S , Wang , B , Qsous , W A , Wallace , W A , Oniscu , G C , Stevens , J , Harrison , D J , Dhaliwal , K , Hiscox , J A , Baillie , J K , Akram , A R , Dorward , D A & Lucas , C D 2022 , ' Tissue proteomic analysis identifies mechanisms and stages of immunopathology in fatal COVID-19 ' , American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology , vol. 66 , no. 2 , pp. 196-205 . https://doi.org/10.1165/rcmb.2021-0358OC
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Copyright © 2022 by the American Thoracic Society. This article is open access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
DescriptionFunding: This work was funded by 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.), LifeArc (through the University of Edinburgh STOPCOVID funding award, to K.D, D.A.D., C.D.L), The Chief Scientist Office (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), and Medical Research Scotland (CVG-1722- 2020 to DAD, CDL, CDR, JKB, and DJH). 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 ISARIC Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium (ISARIC-4C). C.D.R. is supported by an Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT)/Wellcome Trust PhD Training Fellowship for Clinicians award (214178/Z/18/Z). J.A.H. is supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (contract 75F40120C00085, Characterization of severe coronavirus infection in humans and model systems for medical countermeasure development and evaluation’). G.C.O is funded by an NRS Clinician award. N.N.G. is funded by a Pathological Society Award. A.R.A. is supported by a Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Fellowship award (A24867).
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