Transcriptional reprogramming from innate immune functions to a pro-thrombotic signature by monocytes in COVID-19
AbstractAlthough alterations in myeloid cells have been observed in COVID-19, the specific underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. Here, we examine the function of classical CD14+monocytes in patients with mild and moderate COVID-19 during the acute phase of infection and in healthy individuals. Monocytes from COVID-19 patients display altered expression of cell surface receptors and a dysfunctional metabolic profile that distinguish them from healthy monocytes. Secondary pathogen sensing ex vivo leads to defects in pro-inflammatory cytokine and type-I IFN production in moderate COVID-19 cases, together with defects in glycolysis. COVID-19 monocytes switch their gene expression profile from canonical innate immune to pro-thrombotic signatures and are functionally pro-thrombotic, both at baseline and following ex vivo stimulation with SARS-CoV-2. Transcriptionally, COVID-19 monocytes are characterized by enrichment of pathways involved in hemostasis, immunothrombosis, platelet aggregation and other accessory pathways to platelet activation and clot formation. These results identify a potential mechanism by which monocyte dysfunction may contribute to COVID-19 pathology.