• Case Report: Convalescent Plasma Therapy Induced Anti-SARS-CoV-2 T Cell Expansion, NK Cell Maturation and Virus Clearance in a B Cell Deficient Patient After CD19 CAR T Cell Therapy.

      Bošnjak, Berislav; Odak, Ivan; Ritter, Christiane; Stahl, Klaus; Graalmann, Theresa; Steinbrück, Lars; Blasczyk, Rainer; Falk, Christine S; Schulz, Thomas F; Wedemeyer, Hans Heinrich; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-08-12)
      Here, we described the case of a B cell-deficient patient after CD19 CAR-T cell therapy for refractory B cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma with protracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For weeks, this patient only inefficiently contained the virus while convalescent plasma transfusion correlated with virus clearance. Interestingly, following convalescent plasma therapy natural killer cells matured and virus-specific T cells expanded, presumably allowing virus clearance and recovery from the disease. Our findings, thus, suggest that convalescent plasma therapy can activate cellular immune responses to clear SARS-CoV-2 infections. If confirmed in larger clinical studies, these data could be of general importance for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
    • The Immunological Factors Predisposing to Severe Covid-19 Are Already Present in Healthy Elderly and Men.

      Kilic, Gizem; Bulut, Ozlem; Jaeger, Martin; Ter Horst, Rob; Koeken, Valerie A C M; Moorlag, Simone J C F M; Mourits, Vera P; de Bree, Charlotte; Domínguez-Andrés, Jorge; Joosten, Leo A B; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-08-09)
      Male sex and old age are risk factors for COVID-19 severity, but the underlying causes are unknown. A possible explanation for this might be the differences in immunological profiles in males and the elderly before the infection. With this in mind, we analyzed the abundance of circulating proteins and immune populations associated with severe COVID-19 in 2 healthy cohorts. Besides, given the seasonal profile of COVID-19, the seasonal response against SARS-CoV-2 could also be different in the elderly and males. Therefore, PBMCs of female, male, young, and old subjects in different seasons of the year were stimulated with heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 to investigate the season-dependent anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune response. We found that several T cell subsets, which are known to be depleted in severe COVID-19 patients, were intrinsically less abundant in men and older individuals. Plasma proteins increasing with disease severity, including HGF, IL-8, and MCP-1, were more abundant in the elderly and males. Upon in vitro SARS-CoV-2 stimulation, the elderly produced significantly more IL-1RA and had a dysregulated IFNγ response with lower production in the fall compared with young individuals. Our results suggest that the immune characteristics of severe COVID-19, described by a differential abundance of immune cells and circulating inflammatory proteins, are intrinsically present in healthy men and the elderly. This might explain the susceptibility of men and the elderly to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
    • Multi-Omics Approaches in Immunological Research.

      Chu, Xiaojing; Zhang, Bowen; Koeken, Valerie A C M; Gupta, Manoj Kumar; Li, Yang; CiiM, Zentrum für individualisierte Infektionsmedizin, Feodor-Lynen-Str.7, 30625 Hannover. (2021-06-11)
      The immune system plays a vital role in health and disease, and is regulated through a complex interactive network of many different immune cells and mediators. To understand the complexity of the immune system, we propose to apply a multi-omics approach in immunological research. This review provides a complete overview of available methodological approaches for the different omics data layers relevant for immunological research, including genetics, epigenetics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and cellomics. Thereafter, we describe the various methods for data analysis as well as how to integrate different layers of omics data. Finally, we discuss the possible applications of multi-omics studies and opportunities they provide for understanding the complex regulatory networks as well as immune variation in various immune-related diseases.
    • Validation of GWAS-Identified Variants for Anti-TNF Drug Response in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Meta-Analysis of Two Large Cohorts.

      Sánchez-Maldonado, Jose Manuel; Cáliz, Rafael; López-Nevot, Miguel Ángel; Cabrera-Serrano, Antonio José; Moñiz-Díez, Ana; Canhão, Helena; Ter Horst, Rob; Quartuccio, Luca; Sorensen, Signe B; Glintborg, Bente; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-10-27)
      We aimed to validate the association of 28 GWAS-identified genetic variants for response to TNF inhibitors (TNFi) in a discovery cohort of 1361 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients monitored in routine care and ascertained through the REPAIR consortium and DANBIO registry. We genotyped selected markers and evaluated their association with response to TNFi after 6 months of treatment according to the change in disease activity score 28 (ΔDAS28). Next, we confirmed the most interesting results through meta-analysis of our data with those from the DREAM cohort that included 706 RA patients treated with TNFi. The meta-analysis of the discovery cohort and DREAM registry including 2067 RA patients revealed an overall association of the LINC02549 rs7767069 SNP with a lower improvement in DAS28 that remained significant after correction for multiple testing (per-allele ORMeta=0.83, P Meta=0.000077; P Het=0.61). In addition, we found that each copy of the LRRC55 rs717117G allele was significantly associated with lower improvement in DAS28 in rheumatoid factor (RF)-positive patients (per-allele ORMeta=0.67, P=0.00058; P Het=0.06) whereas an opposite but not significant effect was detected in RF-negative subjects (per-allele ORMeta=1.38, P=0.10; P Het=0.45; P Interaction=0.00028). Interestingly, although the identified associations did not survive multiple testing correction, the meta-analysis also showed overall and RF-specific associations for the MAFB rs6071980 and CNTN5 rs1813443 SNPs with decreased changes in DAS28 (per-allele ORMeta_rs6071980 = 0.85, P=0.0059; P Het=0.63 and ORMeta_rs1813443_RF+=0.81, P=0.0059; P Het=0.69 and ORMeta_rs1813443_RF-=1.00, P=0.99; P Het=0.12; P Interaction=0.032). Mechanistically, we found that subjects carrying the LINC02549 rs7767069T allele had significantly increased numbers of CD45RO+CD45RA+ T cells (P=0.000025) whereas carriers of the LINC02549 rs7767069T/T genotype showed significantly increased levels of soluble scavengers CD5 and CD6 in serum (P=0.00037 and P=0.00041). In addition, carriers of the LRRC55 rs717117G allele showed decreased production of IL6 after stimulation of PBMCs with B burgdorferi and E coli bacteria (P=0.00046 and P=0.00044), which suggested a reduced IL6-mediated anti-inflammatory effect of this marker to worsen the response to TNFi. In conclusion, this study confirmed the influence of the LINC02549 and LRRC55 loci to determine the response to TNFi in RA patients and suggested a weak effect of the MAFB and CNTN5 loci that need to be further investigated.