BACKGROUND. Convalescent plasma is the only antibody based therapy currently available for COVID 19 patients. It has robust historical precedence and sound biological plausibility. Although promising, convalescent plasma has not yet been shown to be safe as a treatment for COVID-19. METHODS. Thus, we analyzed key safety metrics after transfusion of ABO compatible human COVID-19 convalescent plasma in 5,000 hospitalized adults with severe or life threatening COVID-19, with 66% in the intensive care unit, as part of the US FDA Expanded Access Program for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. RESULTS. The incidence of all serious adverse events (SAEs) in the first four hours after transfusion was <1%, including mortality rate (0.3%). Of the 36 reported SAEs, there were 25 reported incidences of related SAEs, including mortality (n = 4), transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO; n = 7), transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI; n = 11), and severe allergic transfusion reactions (n = 3). However, only 2 (of 36) SAEs were judged as definitely related to the convalescent plasma transfusion by the treating physician. The seven-day mortality rate was 14.9%. CONCLUSION. Given the deadly nature of COVID 19 and the large population of critically-ill patients included in these analyses, the mortality rate does not appear excessive. These early indicators suggest that transfusion of convalescent plasma is safe in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Michael J. Joyner, R. Scott Wright, DeLisa Fairweather, Jonathon W. Senefeld, Katelyn A. Bruno, Stephen A. Klassen, Rickey E. Carter, Allan M. Klompas, Chad C. Wiggins, John R.A. Shepherd, Robert F. Rea, Emily R. Whelan, Andrew J. Clayburn, Matthew R. Spiegel, Patrick W. Johnson, Elizabeth R. Lesser, Sarah E. Baker, Kathryn F. Larson, Juan G. Ripoll, Kylie J. Andersen, David O. Hodge, Katie L. Kunze, Matthew R. Buras, Matthew N.P. Vogt, Vitaly Herasevich, Joshua J. Dennis, Riley J. Regimbal, Philippe R. Bauer, Janis E. Blair, Camille M. van Buskirk, Jeffrey L. Winters, James R. Stubbs, Nigel S. Paneth, Nicole C. Verdun, Peter Marks, Arturo Casadevall
BACKGROUND. Despite an increasing appreciation of the roles that myeloid cells play in tumor progression and therapy, challenges remain in interpreting the tumor-associated myeloid response balance and its translational value. We aimed to construct a simple and reliable myeloid signature for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). METHODS. Using in situ immunohistochemistry, we assessed the distribution of major myeloid subtypes in both peri- and intratumoral regions of HCC. A 2-feature-based, myeloid-specific prognostic signature, named the myeloid response score (MRS), was constructed using an L1-penalized Cox regression model based on data from a training subset (n=244) and in a test subset (n=244), an independent internal (n=341), and two external (n= 94; n=254) cohorts. RESULTS. The MRS and the MRS-based nomograms displayed remarkable discriminatory power, accuracy, and clinical usefulness for predicting recurrence and patient survival, superior to current staging algorithms. Moreover, an increase in MRS was associated with a shift in the myeloid response balance from antitumor to protumor activities, accompanied with enhanced CD8+ T cell exhaustion patterns. Additionally, we provide evidence that the MRS was associated with the efficacy of sorafenib treatment for recurrent HCC. CONCLUSION. We identified and validated a simple myeloid signature for HCC which showed remarkable prognostic potential and may serve as a basis for the stratification of HCC immune subtypes. FUNDING. This work was supported by the National Science and Technology Major Project of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Science and Information Technology of Guangzhou, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation.
Chong Wu, Jie Lin, Yulan Weng, Dan-Ni Zeng, Jing Xu, Shufeng Luo, Li Xu, Mingyu Liu, Qiaomin Hua, Chao-Qun Liu, Jin-Qing Li, Jing Liao, Cheng Sun, Jian Zhou, Min-Shan Chen, Chao Liu, Zhenhong Guo, Shi-Mei Zhuang, Jin-Hua Huang, Limin Zheng
Background: Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is an emerging infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Anti-viral immune response is crucial to achieve pathogen clearance, however in some patients an excessive and aberrant host immune response can lead to an acute respiratory distress syndrome. The comprehension of the mechanisms that regulate pathogen elimination, immunity, and pathology is essential to better characterize disease progression and widen the spectrum of therapeutic options. Methods: We performed a flow cytometric characterization of immune cells subsets from 30 COVID-19 patients and correlated these data with clinical outcomes. Results: COVID-19 patients showed decreased numbers of circulating T, B and NK cells, and exhibited a skewing of CD8+ T cells towards a terminally differentiated/senescent phenotype. In agreement, T CD4+, T CD8+ but also NK cells displayed reduced anti-viral cytokine production capability. Moreover, a reduced cytotoxic potential was identified in COVID-19 patients, particularly in those that required intensive care. The latter group of patients showed also increased serum IL-6 levels, that correlated to the frequency of granzyme-expressing NK cells. Off-label treatment with tocilizumab restored the cytotoxic potential of NK cells. Conclusion: In conclusion, the association between IL-6 serum levels and the impairment of cytotoxic activity suggests the possibility that targeting this cytokine may restore anti-viral mechanisms. Funding: This study was supported by funds of Dept. of Experimental and Clinical Medicine of University of Florence (ex-60%) derived from Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca (Italy).
Alessio Mazzoni, Lorenzo Salvati, Laura Maggi, Manuela Capone, Anna Vanni, Michele Spinicci, Jessica Mencarini, Roberto Caporale, Benedetta Peruzzi, Alberto Antonelli, Michele Trotta, Lorenzo Zammarchi, Luca Ciani, Leonardo Gori, Chiara Lazzeri, Andrea Matucci, Alessandra Vultaggio, Oliviero Rossi, Fabio Almerigogna, Paola Parronchi, Paolo Fontanari, Federico Lavorini, Adriano Peris, Gian Maria Rossolini, Alessandro Bartoloni, Sergio Romagnani, Francesco Liotta, Francesco Annunziato, Lorenzo Cosmi
Background From March 2-April 12, 2020, New York City (NYC) experienced exponential growth of the COVID-19 pandemic due to novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Little is known regarding how physicians have been affected. We aimed to characterize COVID-19 impact on NYC resident physicians. Methods IRB-exempt and expedited cross-sectional analysis through survey to NYC residency program directors (PDs) April 3–12, 2020, encompassing events from March 2–April 12, 2020. Results From an estimated 340 residency programs around NYC, recruitment yielded 91 responses, representing 24 specialties and 2,306 residents. 45.1% of programs reported at least one resident with confirmed COVID-19: 101 resident physicians were confirmed COVID-19-positive, with an additional 163 residents presumed positive for COVID-19 based on symptoms but awaiting or unable to obtain testing. Two COVID-19-positive residents were hospitalized, with one in intensive care. Among specialties with >100 residents represented, negative binomial regression indicated that infection risk differed by specialty (p=0.039). 80% of programs reported quarantining a resident. 90/91 programs reported reuse or extended mask use, and 43 programs reported that personal protective equipment (PPE) was suboptimal. 65 programs (74.7%) have redeployed residents elsewhere to support COVID-19 efforts. Conclusion Many resident physicians around NYC have been affected by COVID-19 through direct infection, quarantine, or redeployment. Lack of access to testing and concern regarding suboptimal PPE are common among residency programs. Infection risk may differ by specialty. Funding AHA, MPB, RWSC, CGM, LRDG, JDH: NEI Core Grant P30EY019007, RPB Unrestricted Grant. ACP and JS: Parker Family Chair. SXX: University of Pennsylvania.
Mark P. Breazzano, Junchao Shen, Aliaa H. Abdelhakim, Lora Dagi Glass, Jason Horowitz, Sharon X. Xie, C. Gustavo De Moraes, Alice Chen-Plotkin, Royce W.S. Chen
Background: Bariatric surgeries are the most effective treatments for successful and sustained weight loss but individuals vary in treatment response. Understanding the neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms accounting for this variation could lead to the development of personalized therapeutic approaches and improve treatment outcomes. The primary objectives were to investigate changes in taste preferences and taste-induced brain responses after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) and to identify potential taste-related predictors of weight loss. Methods: Women, ages 18 to 55, with a body mass index ≥ 35 kg/m2 and approved for bariatric surgery at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery were recruited for participation. Demographics, anthropometrics, liking ratings, and neural responses to varying concentrations of sucrose+fat mixtures were assessed pre- and post-surgery via visual analogue scales and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results: Bariatric surgery produced decreases in liking for sucrose-sweetened mixtures. Greater preference for sucrose-sweetened mixtures prior to surgery was associated with greater weight loss in RYGB but not VSG. In the RYGB group only, individuals who showed lower taste-induced activation in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) prior to surgery and greater changes in taste-induced VTA activation two weeks following surgery experienced better weight loss. Conclusions: The anatomical and/or metabolic changes associated with RYGB may more effectively “reset” the neural processing of reward stimuli, thereby rescuing the blunted activation in the mesolimbic pathway found in patients with obesity. Further, these findings suggest that RYGB may be particularly effective in patients with a preference for sweet foods. Trial Registration: Not Applicable.Funding: K23DK100559 and The Dalio Philanthropies. Funding: K23DK100559 and The Dalio Philanthropies.
Kimberly R. Smith, Afroditi Papantoni, Maria G. Veldhuizen, Vidyulata Kamath, Civonnia Harris, Timothy H. Moran, Susan Carnell, Kimberley E. Steele
Backgroun NK cells are activated by innate cytokines and viral ligands to kill virus-infected cells; these functions are enhanced during secondary immune responses and after vaccination by synergy with effector T cells and virus-specific antibodies. In human Ebola virus infection, clinical outcome is strongly associated with the initial innate cytokine response, but the role of NK cells has not been thoroughly examined. Methods The novel 2-dose heterologous Adenovirus type 26.ZEBOV (Ad26.ZEBOV) and modified vaccinia Ankara-BN-Filo (MVA-BN-Filo) vaccine regimen is safe and provides specific immunity against Ebola glycoprotein, and is currently in phase 2 and 3 studies. Here, we analysed NK cell phenotype and function in response to Ad26.ZEBOV, MVA-BN-Filo vaccination regimen, and in response to in vitro Ebola glycoprotein stimulation of PBMC isolated before and after vaccination. Results We show enhanced NK cell proliferation and activation after vaccination compared with baseline. Ebola glycoprotein-induced activation of NK cells was dependent on accessory cells and TLR-4-dependent innate cytokine secretion (predominantly from CD14+ monocytes) and enriched within less differentiated NK cell subsets. Optimal NK cell responses were dependent on IL-18 and IL-12, whilst IFN-γ secretion was restricted by high concentrations of IL-10. Conclusion This study demonstrates the induction of NK cell effector functions early after Ad26.ZEBOV, MVA-BN-Filo vaccination and provides a mechanism for the activation and regulation of NK cells by Ebola GP. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02313077 Funding U.K. Medical Research Council Studentship in Vaccine Research, Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking, EBOVAC (Grant 115861) and Crucell Holland (now Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V.), European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).
Helen R. Wagstaffe, Elizabeth A. Clutterbuck, Viki Bockstal, Jeroen N. Stoop, Kerstin Luhn, Macaya J. Douoguih, Georgi Shukarev, Matthew D. Snape, Andrew J. Pollard, Eleanor M. Riley, Martin Goodier
Background. Given the heightened tolerance to self-starvation in anorexia nervosa, a hypothalamic dysregulation of energy and glucose homeostasis has been hypothesized. Therefore, we investigated whether hypothalamic reactivity to glucose metabolism is impaired in AN. Methods. Twenty-four participants with AN, 28 normal-weight and 24 healthy participants with obesity underwent 2 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sessions in a single-blind, random-order, case-controlled crossover design. We used an intragastric infusion of glucose and water to bypass the cephalic phase of food intake. The responsivity of the hypothalamus and the crosstalk of the hypothalamus with reward-related brain regions were investigated using high-resolution MRI. Results. Normal-weight control participants displayed the expected glucose-induced deactivation of hypothalamic activation, whereas patients with AN and participants with obesity showed blunted hypothalamic reactivity. Compared to normal-weight and obese controls, patients with AN failed to show functional connectivity between the hypothalamus and reward-related brain regions during water relative to glucose. Finally, patients with AN displayed typical baseline levels of peripheral appetite hormones during a negative energy balance. Conclusion. These results indicate that blunted hypothalamic glucose reactivity might be related to the pathophysiology of AN. This provides new insights for future research, as it is an extended perspective of the traditional primary nonhomeostatic understanding of the disease. Funding. This study was supported by a grant from the DFG (SI 2087/2-1).
Joe J. Simon, Marion A. Stopyra, Esther Mönning, Sebastian C. A. M. Sailer, Nora Lavandier, Lars Kihm, Martin Bendszus, Hubert Preissl, Wolfgang Herzog, Hans-Christoph Friederich
BACKGROUND Novel therapeutic approaches are critically needed for Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections (BSI), particularly for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Exebacase, a first-in-class antistaphylococcal lysin, is a direct lytic agent that is rapidly bacteriolytic, eradicates biofilms, and synergizes with antibiotics. METHODS In this superiority-design study, we randomly assigned 121 patients with S. aureus BSI/endocarditis to receive a single dose of exebacase or placebo. All patients received standard-of-care antibiotics. The primary efficacy endpoint was clinical outcome (responder rate) at Day 14. RESULTS Clinical responder rates at Day 14 were 70.4% and 60.0% in the exebacase + antibiotics and antibiotics alone groups, respectively (difference=10.4, 90% CI [-6.3, 27.2], p-value=0.31), and were 42.8 percentage points higher in the pre-specified exploratory MRSA subgroup (74.1% vs. 31.3%, difference=42.8, 90% CI [14.3, 71.4], ad hoc p value=0.01). Rates of adverse events (AEs) were similar in both groups. No AEs of hypersensitivity to exebacase were reported. Thirty-day all-cause mortality rates were 9.7% and 12.8% in the exebacase + antibiotics and antibiotics alone groups, respectively, with a notable difference in MRSA (3.7% vs. 25.0%, difference= –21.3, 90% CI [-45.1, 2.5], ad hoc p-value=0.06). Among MRSA patients in the United States, median length-of-stay was 4-days shorter and 30-day hospital readmission rates were 48 percentage points lower in the exebacase-treated group compared with antibiotics alone. CONCLUSIONS This study establishes proof-of-concept for exebacase and direct lytic agents as potential therapeutics and supports conduct of a confirmatory study focused on exebacase to treat MRSA BSI.
Vance G. Fowler, Jr., Anita F. Das, Joy Lipka-Diamond, Raymond Schuch, Roger Pomerantz, Luis Jáuregui-Peredo, Adam Bressler, David C. Evans, Gregory J. Moran, Mark E. Rupp, Robert A. Wise, G. Ralph Corey, Marcus Zervos, Pamela S. Douglas, Cara Cassino
BACKGROUND. Since December 2019, an outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, and is now becoming a global threat. We aimed to delineate and compare the immunologic features of severe and moderate COVID-19. METHODS. In this retrospective study, the clinical and immunologic characteristics of 21 patients (17 male and 4 female) with COVID-19 were analyzed. These patients were classified as severe (11 cases) and moderate (10 cases) according to the Guidelines released by the National Health Commission of China. RESULTS. The median age of severe and moderate cases was 61.0 and 52.0 years, respectively. Common clinical manifestations included fever, cough and fatigue. Compared to moderate cases, severe cases more frequently had dyspnea, lymphopenia, and hypoalbuminemia, with higher levels of alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, C-reactive protein, ferritin and D-dimer as well as markedly higher levels of IL-2R, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α. Absolute number of T lymphocytes, CD4+T and CD8+T cells decreased in nearly all the patients, and were markedly lower in severe cases (294.0, 177.5 and 89.0 × 106/L) than moderate cases (640.5, 381.5 and 254.0 × 106/L). The expressions of IFN-γ by CD4+T cells tended to be lower in severe cases (14.1%) than moderate cases (22.8%). CONCLUSION. The SARS-CoV-2 infection may affect primarily T lymphocytes particularly CD4+T and CD8+ T cells, resulting in decrease in numbers as well as IFN-γ production. These potential immunological markers may be of importance due to their correlation with disease severity in COVID-19.
Guang Chen, Di Wu, Wei Guo, Yong Cao, Da Huang, Hongwu Wang, Tao Wang, Xiaoyun Zhang, Huilong Chen, Haijing Yu, Xiaoping Zhang, Minxia Zhang, Shiji Wu, Jianxin Song, Tao Chen, Meifang Han, Shusheng Li, Xiaoping Luo, Jianping Zhao, Qin Ning
Background. Insulin is a key regulator of metabolic function. The effects of excess adiposity, insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis on the complex integration of insulin secretion and hepatic and extrahepatic tissue extraction are not clear. Methods. A hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and a 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test were used to evaluate insulin sensitivity and insulin kinetics after glucose ingestion in three groups: i) lean with normal intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) and glucose tolerance (Lean-NL; n=14); ii) obese with normal IHTG and glucose tolerance (Obese-NL; n=24); and iii) obese with hepatic steatosis and prediabetes (Obese-NAFLD; n=22). Results. Insulin sensitivity progressively decreased and insulin secretion progressively increased from Lean-NL to Obese-NL to Obese-NAFLD. Fractional hepatic insulin extraction progressively decreased from Lean-NL to Obese-NL to Obese-NAFLD, whereas total hepatic insulin extraction (molar amount removed) was greater in Obese-NL and Obese-NAFLD than Lean-NL. Insulin appearance in the systemic circulation and extrahepatic insulin extraction progressively increased from Lean-NL to Obese-NL to Obese-NAFLD. Total hepatic insulin extraction plateaued at high rates of insulin delivery, whereas the relationship between systemic insulin appearance and total extrahepatic extraction was linear. Conclusion. Hyperinsulinemia after glucose ingestion in Obese-NL and Obese-NAFLD is due to an increase in insulin secretion, without a decrease in total hepatic or extrahepatic insulin extraction. However, the liver’s maximum capacity to remove insulin is limited because of a saturable extraction process. The increase in insulin delivery to the liver and extrahepatic tissues in Obese-NAFLD is unable to compensate for the increase in insulin resistance, resulting in impaired glucose homeostasis.
Gordon I. Smith, David C. Polidori, Mihoko Yoshino, Monica L. Kearney, Bruce W. Patterson, Bettina Mittendorfer, Samuel Klein
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