The Rockefeller University Press

Unconventional T cells in severe COVID-19 patients could predict disease outcome

Newswise — Researchers in France have discovered that patients suffering from severe COVID-19 show changes in a class of immune cells known as unconventional T cells. The study, published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), suggests that monitoring the activity of these cells in the blood of patients could predict the severity and course of the disease.

While most people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus experience relatively mild symptoms, some patients mount an aberrant inflammatory response that can damage the lungs and cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), potentially resulting in the patient’s death. However, the immune cells and inflammatory molecules responsible for ARDS associated with COVID-19 remain unclear.

Unconventional T cells are a diverse class of immune cells that help control the response to viral infection and are commonly found in the lungs and other mucosal tissues in the body. “Despite this, the role of unconventional T cells in the pathophysiological process of SARS-CoV-2–driven ARDS has not yet been explored,” says Christophe Paget, a researcher at the INSERM Research Center for Respiratory Diseases, University of Tours.

Paget and colleagues, including co-lead author Youenn Jouan, an intensivist at the academic hospital of Tours, examined 30 patients admitted to intensive care with severe COVID-19 and compared the immune cells in their blood and lungs to those found in healthy volunteers or patients admitted to the ICU for reasons other than COVID-19.

The researchers found that two types of unconventional T cells—known as mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) and invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells—were dramatically reduced in the blood of patients with severe COVID-19. However, the number of MAIT cells increased in the patients’ airways, suggesting that these cells might move from the blood to the lungs to control the response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The MAIT and iNKT cells of COVID-19 patients appeared to be highly activated and produced distinct sets of inflammatory molecules. The researchers found that patients whose circulating MAIT and iNKT cells were particularly active at the time of their admittance to the ICU were less susceptible to hypoxemia (low blood oxygen levels) and were discharged sooner than patients whose MAIT and iNKT cells were less active.

“This suggests that MAIT and iNKT cells might play a beneficial role during severe COVID-19, although their precise functions and associated mechanisms require further investigation,” says Jouan.

“Altogether, our findings should encourage further studies on MAIT and iNKT cells in SARS-CoV-2–induced ARDS to assess their potential as biomarkers and/or targets for immune intervention strategies,” adds Paget.

Jouan et al., 2020. J. Exp. Med. https://rupress.org/jem/article-lookup/doi/10.1084/jem.20200872?PR

# # #

 

About the Journal of Experimental Medicine

The Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM) features peer-reviewed research on immunology, cancer biology, stem cell biology, microbial pathogenesis, vascular biology, and neurobiology. All editorial decisions are made by research-active scientists in conjunction with in-house scientific editors. JEM makes all of its content free online no later than six months after publication. Established in 1896, JEM is published by Rockefeller University Press. For more information, visit jem.org.

Visit our Newsroom, and sign up for a weekly preview of articles to be published. Embargoed media alerts are for journalists only.

Follow JEM on Twitter at @JExpMed and @RockUPress.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4573
Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:40 PM EST
Research Links Social Isolation to COVID-19 Protocol Resistance
Humboldt State University

As health officials continue to implore the public to wear masks and practice social distancing, recent research by Humboldt State University Psychology Professor Amber Gaffney provides key insights into connections between social isolation, conspiratorial thinking, and resistance to COVID-19 protocols.

Newswise: Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:35 PM EST
Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Washington University in St. Louis

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a relatively simple and rapid blood test can predict which patients with COVID-19 are at highest risk of severe complications or death. The blood test measures levels of mitochondrial DNA, which normally resides inside the energy factories of cells. Mitochondrial DNA spilling out of cells and into the bloodstream is a sign that a particular type of violent cell death is taking place in the body.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:55 PM EST
COVID-19 deaths really are different. But best practices for ICU care should still apply, studies suggest.
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

COVID-19 deaths are indeed different from other lung failure deaths, according to two recent studies, with 56% of COVID-19 patients dying primarily from the lung damage caused by the virus, compared with 22% of those whose lungs fail due to other causes. But, the researchers conclude, the kind of care needed to help sustain people through the worst cases of all forms of lung failure is highly similar, and just needs to be fine-tuned.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:50 PM EST
45% of adults over 65 lack online medical accounts that could help them sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

As the vaccination of older adults against COVID-19 begins across the country, new poll data suggests that many of them don’t yet have access to the “patient portal” online systems that could make it much easier for them to schedule a vaccination appointment. In all, 45% of adults aged 65 to 80 had not set up an account with their health provider’s portal system.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 1:30 PM EST
New England Journal of Medicine publishes COVID-19 treatment trial results
University of Texas at San Antonio

A clinical trial involving COVID-19 patients hospitalized at UT Health San Antonio and University Health, among roughly 100 sites globally, found that a combination of the drugs baricitinib and remdesivir reduced time to recovery, according to results published Dec. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:40 PM EST
DNA test can quickly identify pneumonia in patients with severe COVID-19, aiding faster treatment
University of Cambridge

Researchers have developed a DNA test to quickly identify secondary infections in COVID-19 patients, who have double the risk of developing pneumonia while on ventilation than non-COVID-19 patients.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:30 PM EST
Fight CRC To Present Research Findings on The Impact of COVID-19 on the Colorectal Cancer Community at 2021 GI ASCO
Fight Colorectal Cancer

Fight Colorectal Cancer presents abstract at Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium highlighting the need to address the barriers and opportunities for care within the colorectal cancer community during the COVID-19 pandemic

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:25 PM EST
Technion to Award Honorary Doctorate to Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla
American Technion Society

Israel's Technion will award an honorary doctorate to Pfizer CEO and Chairman Dr. Albert Bourla, for leading the development of the novel vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The honorary doctorate will be conferred at the Technion Board of Governors meeting in November 2021.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 11:30 AM EST
UW researchers develop tool to equitably distribute limited vaccines
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health have developed a tool that incorporates a person’s age and socioeconomic status to prioritize vaccine distribution among people who otherwise share similar risks due to their jobs.


Showing results

110 of 4573

close
0.94876