Jiang W, Johnson D, Adekunle R, Heather H, Xu W, Cong X, Wu X, Fan H, Andersson L, Robertson J, Gisslén M
J Med Virol - (-) - [2022-09-10; online 2022-09-10]
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with autoimmune features and autoantibody production in a small subset of the population. Pre-existing neutralizing antitype I interferons (IFNs) autoantibodies are related to the severity of COVID-19. Plasma levels of IgG and IgM against 12 viral antigens and 103 self-antigens were evaluated using an antibody protein array in patients with severe/critical or mild/moderate COVID-19 disease and uninfected controls. Patients exhibited increased IgGs against Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 proteins compared to controls, but no difference was observed in the two patient groups. 78% autoreactive IgGs and 93% autoreactive IgMs were increased in patients versus controls. There was no difference in the plasma levels of anti-type I IFN autoantibodies or neutralizing anti-type I IFN activity of plasma samples from the two patient groups. Increased anti-type I IFN IgGs were correlated with higher lymphocyte accounts, suggesting a role of nonpathogenic autoantibodies. Notably, among the 115 antibodies tested, only plasma levels of IgGs against human coronavirus (HCOV)-229E and HCOV-NL63 spike proteins were associated with mild disease outcome. COVID-19 was associated with a bystander polyclonal autoreactive B cell activation, but none of the autoantibody levels were linked to disease severity. Long-term humoral immunity against HCOV-22E and HCOV-NL63 spike protein was associated with mild disease outcome. Understanding the mechanism of life-threatening COVID-19 is critical to reducing mortality and morbidity.