Dysregulated plasma lipid mediator profiles in critically ill COVID-19 patients

PLoS One. 2021 Aug 26;16(8):e0256226. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0256226. eCollection 2021.


Coronavirus disease (COVID)-19, as a result of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, has been the direct cause of over 2.2 million deaths worldwide. A timely coordinated host-immune response represents the leading driver for restraining SARS-CoV-2 infection. Indeed, several studies have described dysregulated immunity as the crucial determinant for critical illness and the failure of viral control. Improved understanding and management of COVID-19 could greatly reduce the mortality and morbidity caused by SARS-CoV-2. One aspect of the immune response that has to date been understudied is whether lipid mediator production is dysregulated in critically ill patients. In the present study, plasma from COVID-19 patients with either severe disease and those that were critically ill was collected and lipid mediator profiles were determined using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Results from these studies indicated that plasma concentrations of both pro-inflammatory and pro-resolving lipid mediator were reduced in critically ill patients when compared with those with severe disease. Furthermore, plasma concentrations of a select group of mediators that included the specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM) Resolvin (Rv) D1 and RvE4 were diagnostic of disease severity. Interestingly, peripheral blood SPM concentrations were also linked with outcome in critically ill patients, where we observed reduced overall concentrations of these mediators in those patients that did not survive. Together the present findings establish a link between plasma lipid mediators and disease severity in patients with COVID-19 and indicate that plasma SPM concentrations may be linked with survival in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Critical Illness
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood*
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Up-Regulation


  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D
  • resolvin D1
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Ferritins