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Peripheral innate and adaptive immune cells during COVID-19: Functional neutrophils, pro-inflammatory monocytes, and half-dead lymphocytes
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  • Emel Ekşioğlu-Demiralp,
  • Servet Alan,
  • Uluhan Sili,
  • Dilek Bakan,
  • İlhan Ocak,
  • Rayfe Yürekli,
  • Nadir Alpay,
  • Serpil Görçin,
  • Alaattin Yıldız
Emel Ekşioğlu-Demiralp
Memorial Health Group, İstanbul Memorial Hospital
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Servet Alan
Memorial Health Group, İstanbul Memorial Şişli Hospital
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Uluhan Sili
Marmara University School of Medicine
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Dilek Bakan
Memorial Health Group, İstanbul Memorial Şişli Hospital
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İlhan Ocak
Memorial Health Group, Istanbul Memorial Şişli Hospital
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Rayfe Yürekli
Memorial Health Group, İstanbul Memorial Hospital
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Nadir Alpay
Memorial Health Group, İstanbul Hizmet Hospital
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Serpil Görçin
Memorial Health Group, İstanbul Şişli Hospital
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Alaattin Yıldız
Memorial Health Group, İstanbul Memorial Şişli Hospital
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Abstract

A better understanding of the innate and adaptive cells in the COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is a necessity for the development of effective treatment methods and vaccines. We studied phenotypic features of innate and adaptive immune cells, oxidative burst, phagocytosis and apoptosis. One hundred and three patients with COVID-19 grouped according to their clinical features as mild (35%), moderate (40.8%), and severe (24.3%) were included in the study. Monocytes from all COVID-19 patients were CD16+ pro-inflammatory monocytes. Neutrophils were mature and functional. No defect has been found in ROS production of monocytes and neutrophils as well as no defect in their apoptosis. As bridging cells of the innate and adaptive immune system; the percentage of NK cells was in normal range whereas the percentages of CD3-CD8+CD56+ innate lymphoid and CD3+CD56+ NK like T cells were found to be high in the severe cases of COVID-19. Although absolute numbers of all lymphocyte subsets were low and showed a tendency for a gradual decrease in accord with the disease progression, in all COVID-19 patients, the lymphocyte subset with the most decreased absolute number was B lymphocytes, followed by CD4 + T cells in the severe cases. The percentages of regulatory, CD3+CD4-CD8-; HLA-DR+CD3+ and CD28-CD8+ cells were found to be significantly increased. Importantly, we demonstrated spontaneous caspase-3 activation and increased lymphocyte apoptosis. Altogether our data suggest that SARS-CoV- 2 primarily affects lymphocytes not innate cells. So that, it may interrupt the cross-talk between adaptive and innate immune systems.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

10 Sep 2020Submitted to Clinical & Experimental Immunology
11 Sep 2020Assigned to Editor
11 Sep 2020Submission Checks Completed
11 Sep 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned