Dual activation profile of monocytes is associated with protection in Mexican patients during SARS-CoV-2 disease

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2022 Dec;106(23):7905-7916. doi: 10.1007/s00253-022-12256-8. Epub 2022 Nov 7.


The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been one of the most catastrophic diseases observed in recent years. It has reported nearly 550 million cases worldwide, with more than 6.35 million deaths. In Mexico, an increased incidence and mortality of this disease were observed, where the immune response has been involved in the magnitude and severity. A critical version of the disease is accompanied by hyperinflammatory responses, with cytokine and defective cellular responses. A detailed understanding of the role of molecules and cells in the immune response during COVID-19 disease may help to generate effective protection mechanisms, improving those we already have. Here we analyzed blood samples obtained from patients at the Hospital Regional de Alta Especialidad de Ixtapaluca (HRAEI), Mexico, which were classified according to living guidance for clinical management of COVID-19 by the World Health Organization: asymptomatic, mild, severe, and critical disease. We observed increased interleukin (IL)-6 levels and a T-CD8+ and T-CD4+ cell reduction correlated with the critical disease version. Importantly, here, we described a significant reduction of CD11b+CD45highCD14low monocytes during severe disease, which displayed a non-classical profile, expressing IL-10, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO)1 molecule. Moreover, CD11b+CD45highCD14low monocytes obtained from infected one-dose vaccinated patients (Pfizer® vaccine) who suffered minimal symptoms showed simultaneously a dual classical and no-classical profile expressing pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. These results suggest that blood monocytes expressing a dual pro- and anti-inflammatory profile might be a predictive marker for protection in the Mexican population during COVID-19 disease. KEY POINTS : • Exacerbated immune response is associated with COVID-19 severe disease. • Dual monocyte activation profile is crucial for predicting protection during COVID-19. • Vaccination is crucial to induce the dual activation profile in monocytes.

Keywords: COVID-19; Dual monocyte activation profile; Immune response; SARS-CoV-2; T cells.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mexico
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Cytokines