Key Features of Immune Cells During SARS-CoV-2-Infection - Thermo Fisher

COVID 19 is a complex pathological condition caused by infection with SARS CoV. Different features have been observed in patients with a severe disease, one of these is the progressive increase of immune mediated inflammation. Indeed, several reports have described abnormally increased levels of cytokines in plasma from patients infected by SARS CoV 2, that has been defined cytokine storm, similarly to what described in bacterial sepsis or after CAR T cell therapy. We have deeply investigated by flow cytometry the immune system and cells producing cytokines in patients affected by COVID 19 in 21 patients and 13 controls. Patients show an increased percentage of activated, exhausted T lymphocytes. B cell compartment showed even greater modifications, with decreased naive and memory cells. Monocytes showed relevant signs of functional exhaustion, while neutrophils expressed more markers linked to degranulation. We found that in vitro stimulation caused a relevant production of TNF ?, IFN ? and IL 2, as well as a significant skewing towards the Th17 phenotype.

Sara De Biasi, PhD

Asst. Professor of General Pathology and Immunology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia School of Medicine

Sara De Biasi is interested in the dynamics of T cell homeostasis and functions in conditions of acquired immunodeficiencies, with a special focus on HIV infection and solid organ transplantation and related therapies. More recently, her work focused on multiple sclerosis as a model to study autoimmunity. In particular, she is investigating the role of innate-like T cells (iNKT cells), rare cell populations among peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In addition, she took advantage of the experience acquired in the field of rare events detection such as iNKT cells to study circulating endothelial cells (CEC), their precursor (EPC) in different type of cancers.

Paola Paglia

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