Despite many studies on the immune characteristics of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in the progression stage, a detailed understanding of pertinent immune cells in recovered patients is lacking. We performed single-cell RNA sequencing on samples from recovered COVID-19 patients and healthy controls. We created a comprehensive immune landscape with more than 260,000 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 41 samples by integrating our dataset with previously reported datasets, which included samples collected between 27 and 47 days after symptom onset. According to our large-scale single-cell analysis, recovered patients, who had severe symptoms (severe/critical recovered), still exhibited peripheral immune disorders 1-2 months after symptom onset. Specifically, in these severe/critical recovered patients, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II and antigen processing pathways were downregulated in both CD14 monocytes and dendritic cells compared to healthy controls, while the proportion of CD14 monocytes increased. These may lead to the downregulation of T-cell differentiation pathways in memory T cells. However, in the mild/moderate recovered patients, the proportion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells increased compared to healthy controls, accompanied by the upregulation of HLA-DRA and HLA-DRB1 in both CD14 monocytes and dendritic cells. In addition, T-cell differentiation regulation and memory T cell-related genes FOS, JUN, CD69, CXCR4, and CD83 were upregulated in the mild/moderate recovered patients. Further, the immunoglobulin heavy chain V3-21 (IGHV3-21) gene segment was preferred in B-cell immune repertoires in severe/critical recovered patients. Collectively, we provide a large-scale single-cell atlas of the peripheral immune response in recovered COVID-19 patients.
Keywords: HLA class II; disease severity; memory T cells; myeloid cells; recovered COVID-19 patients.
Copyright © 2022 Li, Garg, Jia, Liao, Yuan, Li, Wu, Wu, Bi, George, Papatheodorou, Brazma, Luo, Fang, Miao and Shu.