Monocyte-Mediated Thrombosis Linked to Circulating Tissue Factor and Immune Paralysis in COVID-19

Sascha N. Goonewardena, Qinzhong Chen, Ashley M. Tate, Olga G. Grushko, Dilna Damodaran, Pennelope K. Blakely, Salim S. Hayek, David J. Pinsky, Robert S. Rosenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 infections cause COVID-19 and are associated with inflammation, coagulopathy, and high incidence of thrombosis. Myeloid cells help coordinate the initial immune response in COVID-19. Although we appreciate that myeloid cells lie at the nexus of inflammation and thrombosis, the mechanisms that unite the two in COVID-19 remain largely unknown. METHODS: In this study, we used systems biology approaches including proteomics, transcriptomics, and mass cytometry to define the circulating proteome and circulating immune cell phenotypes in subjects with COVID-19. RESULTS: In a cohort of subjects with COVID-19 (n=35), circulating markers of inflammation (CCL23 [C-C motif chemokine ligand 23] and IL [interleukin]-6) and vascular dysfunction (ACE2 [angiotensin-converting enzyme 2] and TF [tissue factor]) were elevated in subjects with severe compared with mild COVID-19. Additionally, although the total white blood cell counts were similar between COVID-19 groups, CD14+ (cluster of differentiation) monocytes from subjects with severe COVID-19 expressed more TF. At baseline, transcriptomics demonstrated increased IL-6, CCL3, ACOD1 (aconitate decarboxylase 1), C5AR1 (complement component 5a receptor), C5AR2, and TF in subjects with severe COVID-19 compared with controls. Using stress transcriptomics, we found that circulating immune cells from subjects with severe COVID-19 had evidence of profound immune paralysis with greatly reduced transcriptional activation and release of inflammatory markers in response to TLR (Toll-like receptor) activation. Finally, sera from subjects with severe (but not mild) COVID-19 activated human monocytes and induced TF expression. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these observations further elucidate the pathological mechanisms that underlie immune dysfunction and coagulation abnormalities in COVID-19, contributing to our growing understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infections that could also be leveraged to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1134
Number of pages11
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2024

Keywords

  • immunity
  • inflammation
  • paralysis
  • systems biology
  • thrombosis

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