COVID-19 is often related to hyperinflammation that drives lung or multiorgan injury. The immunopathological mechanisms that cause excessive inflammation are under investigation and constantly updated. Here, a gene network approach was used on recently published data sets to identify possible COVID-19 inflammatory mechanisms and bioactive genes. First, network analysis of putative SARS-CoV-2 cellular receptors led to the mining of a neutrophil-response signature and relevant inflammatory genes. Second, analysis of RNA-seq data sets of lung cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 revealed that infected cells expressed neutrophil-attracting chemokines. Third, analysis of RNA-seq data sets of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cells from COVID-19 patients identified upregulation of neutrophil genes and chemokines. Different inflammatory genes mined here, including TNFR, IL-8, CXCR1, CXCR2, ADAM10, GPR84, MME, ANPEP, and LAP3, might be druggable targets in efforts to limit SARS-CoV-2 inflammation in severe clinical cases. The possible role of neutrophils in COVID-19 inflammation needs to be studied further.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; inflammation; neutrophil.
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