COVID-19 pneumonia: CD8 + T and NK cells are decreased in number but compensatory increased in cytotoxic potential

Clin Immunol. 2020 Sep;218:108516. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2020.108516. Epub 2020 Jun 20.

Abstract

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is posing a huge threat to human health worldwide. We aim to investigate the immune status of CD8+ T and NK cells in COVID-19 patients.

Methods: The count and immune status of lymphocytes were detected by flow cytometry in 32 COVID-19 patients and 18 healthy individuals.

Results: As the disease progression in COVID-19 patients, CD8+ T and NK cells were significantly decreased in absolute number but highly activated. After patients' condition improved, the count and immune status of CD8+ T and NK cells restored to some extent. GrA+CD8+ T and perforin+ NK cells had good sensitivity and specificity for assisting diagnosis of COVID-19.

Conclusions: As the disease progression, the declined lymphocytes in COVID-19 patients might lead to compensatory activation of CD8+ T and NK cells. GrA+CD8+ T and perforin+ NK cells might be used as meaningful indicators for assisting diagnosis of COVID-19.

Keywords: CD8(+) T cells; COVID-19; Granzyme; NK cells; Perforin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Granzymes / blood
  • Granzymes / genetics*
  • Granzymes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / pathology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / virology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Perforin / blood
  • Perforin / genetics*
  • Perforin / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • ROC Curve
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / pathology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / virology

Substances

  • Biomarkers
  • Perforin
  • Granzymes
  • GZMA protein, human