Articles Ophthalmology Articles

Immune Cell Profiling of COVID-19 Patients in the Recovery Stage by Single-Cell Sequencing

Published time: 04 May 2020

Authors: Wen Wen, Wenru Su, Hao Tang, Wenqing Le, Xiaopeng Zhang, Yingfeng Zheng, Xiuxing Liu, Lihui Xie, Jianmin Li, Jinguo Ye, Liwei Dong, Xiuliang Cui, Yushan Miao, Depeng Wang, Jiantao Dong, Chuanle Xiao, Wei Chen & Hongyang Wang

Keywords: Covid-19, immune cell, SARS-CoV-2, BCR signaling,


COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, has recently affected over 1,200,000 people and killed more than 60,000. The key immune cell subsets change and their states during the course of COVID-19 remain unclear. We sought to comprehensively characterize the transcriptional changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells during the recovery stage of COVID-19 by single-cell RNA sequencing technique. It was found that T cells decreased remarkably, whereas monocytes increased in patients in the early recovery stage (ERS) of COVID-19. There was an increased ratio of classical CD14++ monocytes with high inflammatory gene expression as well as a greater abundance of CD14++IL1β+ monocytes in the ERS. CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells decreased significantly and expressed high levels of inflammatory genes in the ERS. Among the B cells, the plasma cells increased remarkably, whereas the naïve B cells decreased. Several novel B cell-receptor (BCR) changes were identified, such as IGHV3-23 and IGHV3-7, and isotypes (IGHV3-15, IGHV3-30, and IGKV3-11) previously used for virus vaccine development were confirmed. The strongest pairing frequencies, IGHV3-23-IGHJ4, indicated a monoclonal state associated with SARS-CoV-2 specificity, which had not been reported yet. Furthermore, integrated analysis predicted that IL-1β and M-CSF may be novel candidate target genes for inflammatory storm and that TNFSF13, IL-18, IL-2, and IL-4 may be beneficial for the recovery of COVID-19 patients. Our study provides the first evidence of an inflammatory immune signature in the ERS, suggesting COVID-19 patients are still vulnerable after hospital discharge. Identification of novel BCR signaling may lead to the development of vaccines and antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19.

Immune cell profiling of COVID-19 patients in the recovery stage by single-cell sequencing



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