Reduced IL-8 Secretion by NOD-like and Toll-like Receptors in Blood Cells from COVID-19 Patients

Biomedicines. 2023 Apr 3;11(4):1078. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines11041078.


Severe inflammatory responses are associated with the misbalance of innate and adaptive immunity. TLRs, NLRs, and cytokine receptors play an important role in pathogen sensing and intracellular control, which remains unclear in COVID-19. This study aimed to evaluate IL-8 production in blood cells from COVID-19 patients in a two-week follow-up evaluation. Blood samples were taken at admission (t1) and after 14 days of hospitalization (t2). The functionality of TLR2, TLR4, TLR7/8, TLR9, NOD1, and NOD2 innate receptors and IL-12 and IFN-γ cytokine receptors was evaluated by whole blood stimulation with specific synthetic receptor agonists through the quantification of IL-8, TNF-α, or IFN-γ. At admission, ligand-dependent IL-8 secretion was 6.4, 13, and 2.5 times lower for TLR2, TLR4, and endosomal TLR7/8 receptors, respectively, in patients than in healthy controls. Additionally, IL-12 receptor-induced IFN-γ secretion was lower in COVID-19 patients than in healthy subjects. We evaluated the same parameters after 14 days and observed significantly higher responses for TLR2, TLR4, TLR7/8, TLR9, and NOD1, NOD2, and IFN-γ receptors. In conclusion, the low secretion of IL-8 through stimulation with agonists of TLR2, TLR4, TLR7/8, TLR9, and NOD2 at t1 suggests their possible contribution to immunosuppression following hyperinflammation in COVID-19 disease.

Keywords: COVID-19; NLRs function; TLRs function; agonist.