Jing Y, Luo L, Chen Y, Westerberg LS, Zhou P, Xu Z, Herrada AA, Park CS, Kubo M, Mei H, Hu Y, Lee PP, Zheng B, Sui Z, Xiao W, Gong Q, Lu Z, Liu C
Signal Transduct Target Ther 6 (1) 345 [2021-09-22; online 2021-09-22]
The SARS-CoV-2 infection causes severe immune disruption. However, it is unclear if disrupted immune regulation still exists and pertains in recovered COVID-19 patients. In our study, we have characterized the immune phenotype of B cells from 15 recovered COVID-19 patients, and found that healthy controls and recovered patients had similar B-cell populations before and after BCR stimulation, but the frequencies of PBC in patients were significantly increased when compared to healthy controls before stimulation. However, the percentage of unswitched memory B cells was decreased in recovered patients but not changed in healthy controls upon BCR stimulation. Interestingly, we found that CD19 expression was significantly reduced in almost all the B-cell subsets in recovered patients. Moreover, the BCR signaling and early B-cell response were disrupted upon BCR stimulation. Mechanistically, we found that the reduced CD19 expression was caused by the dysregulation of cell metabolism. In conclusion, we found that SARS-CoV-2 infection causes immunodeficiency in recovered patients by downregulating CD19 expression in B cells via enhancing B-cell metabolism, which may provide a new intervention target to cure COVID-19.