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A human circulating immune cell landscape in aging and COVID-19

Abstract

Age-associated changes in immune cells have been linked to an increased risk for infection. However, a global and detailed characterization of the changes that human circulating immune cells undergo with age is lacking. Here, we combined scRNA-seq, mass cytometry and scATAC-seq to compare immune cell types in peripheral blood collected from young and old subjects and patients with COVID-19. We found that the immune cell landscape was reprogrammed with age and was characterized by T cell polarization from naive and memory cells to effector, cytotoxic, exhausted and regulatory cells, along with increased late natural killer cells, age-associated B cells, inflammatory monocytes and age-associated dendritic cells. In addition, the expression of genes, which were implicated in coronavirus susceptibility, was upregulated in a cell subtype-specific manner with age. Notably, COVID-19 promoted age-induced immune cell polarization and gene expression related to inflammation and cellular senescence. Therefore, these findings suggest that a dysregulated immune system and increased gene expression associated with SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility may at least partially account for COVID-19 vulnerability in the elderly.

Authors: Zheng Y, Liu X, Le W, Xie L, Li H, Wen W, Wang S, Ma S, Huang Z, Ye J, Shi W, Ye Y, Liu Z, Song M, Zhang W, Han JJ, Belmonte JCI, Xiao C, Qu J, Wang H, Liu GH, Su W.
Journal: Protein Cell. 2020 Oct;11(10):740-770
Year: 2020
PubMed: Find in PubMed