Evaluation of Genetic or Cellular Impairments in Type I IFN Immunity in a Cohort of Young Adults with Critical COVID-19.

Covill LE, Sendel A, Campbell TM, Piiroinen I, Enoksson SL, Borgström EW, Hansen S, Ma K, Marits P, Norlin AC, Smith CIE, Kåhlin J, Eriksson LI, Bergman P, Bryceson YT

J Clin Immunol 44 (2) 50 [2024-01-17; online 2024-01-17]

Several genetic and immunological risk factors for severe COVID-19 have been identified, with monogenic conditions relating to 13 genes of type I interferon (IFN) immunity proposed to explain 4.8% of critical cases. However, previous cohorts have been clinically heterogeneous and were not subjected to thorough genetic and immunological analyses. We therefore aimed to systematically investigate the prevalence of rare genetic variants causing inborn errors of immunity (IEI) and functionally interrogate the type I IFN pathway in young adults that suffered from critical COVID-19 yet lacked comorbidities. We selected and clinically characterized a cohort of 38 previously healthy individuals under 50 years of age who were treated in intensive care units due to critical COVID-19. Blood samples were collected after convalescence. Two patients had IFN-α autoantibodies. Genome sequencing revealed very rare variants in the type I IFN pathway in 31.6% of the patients, which was similar to controls. Analyses of cryopreserved leukocytes did not indicate any defect in plasmacytoid dendritic cell sensing of TLR7 and TLR9 agonists in patients carrying variants in these pathways. However, lymphocyte STAT phosphorylation and protein upregulation upon IFN-α stimulation revealed three possible cases of impaired type I IFN signaling in carriers of rare variants. Together, our results suggest a strategy of functional screening followed by genome analyses and biochemical validation to uncover undiagnosed causes of critical COVID-19.

Category: Genomics & transcriptomics

Category: Serology

Funder: VR

Type: Journal article

PubMed 38231281

DOI 10.1007/s10875-023-01641-1

Crossref 10.1007/s10875-023-01641-1

pmc: PMC10794435
pii: 10.1007/s10875-023-01641-1

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