The research by scientists from the Institute of Cell Therapy is a major contribution to the fight against COVID-19

Even at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of scientists from the Institute of Cell Therapy set themselves the goal of learning the details of the course of this disease.

Their research, published in the journal “Biomedical Reports” (March 2023, Biomedical Reports 18(5) DOI: 10.3892/br.2023.1615), showed dynamic changes in radiological parameters, immune cells, and certain markers of inflammation. process (microRNAs and cytokines) in the peripheral blood of patients with a severe course of COVID-19 and the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In all, 14 patients were analyzed compared to 17 healthy subjects of the same age. Data were analyzed on the day the patient was admitted to the hospital and on the seventh, fourteenth, and twenty-eighth days of observation. The combination of quantitative computed tomography of the chest with data from clinical and laboratory studies enabled the identification of prognostic factors for disease severity within 48 weeks after the onset of symptoms. All this contributed to a detailed description of the course of the disease.

Thus, the study showed that most patients initially had a low number of lymphocytes and leukocytes, in addition to an increased content of penile neutrophils, an increased level of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and protein-10, which is induced by interferon-γ (IP 10). and immune cells such as B and T cells, which indicate strong inflammation and an increased resistance of the body to an unknown infection.

The study authors suggest that elevated levels of pro-inflammatory microRNAs and cytokines with activated leukocytes as part of the syndrome of an excessive systemic inflammatory response all contribute to the pathophysiology of ARDS.

One week after the start of treatment, the authors observed an increase in the number of different subpopulations of acquired immune cells (T-helper and T-killer), as well as a gradual decrease in C-reactive protein. However, even after treatment ended and general blood screening parameters normalized after Four weeks after the start of the observation, the levels of inflammatory cytokines such as interferon γ-inducible protein 10 (IP-10), factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin (IL)-6 remained steadily elevated, indicating local inflammation in the body. This was confirmed by computed tomography data, in which signs of lung fibrosis were observed up to the 48th week.

The study authors suggest that immune cells from a patient’s peripheral blood could be used as markers for COVID-19 and would be useful for predicting disease progression and monitoring response to treatment in acute patients with COVID-19 and ARDS.

Link to the publication “Biomedical Reports”

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