Resources / Impaired dendritic cell homing in COVID-19
Duration 22 min
Prof Ralf Huss, University Hospital Augsburg and Lukas Borcherding, University of Munich
Impaired dendritic cell homing in COVID-19
Duration 22 min

The high mortality rate of COVID-19 is largely due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is characterized by diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Additionally, severe cases of COVID-19 often result in a cytokine storm and a disrupted adaptive immune response. Most previous studies on this issue have focused on the peripheral cell count and the functionality of immune cells.

The team at UK Augsburg in Germany used multiplexed immunofluorescence to study the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on antigen-presenting cells. Like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 appears to impair the maturation of dendritic cells (DCs), which is characterized by a switch in surface antigen expression. This switch enables the cells to travel to lymph nodes and activate T-cells.

To shed light on the local inflammatory infiltrate, the team compared the cell populations of professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in the lungs of COVID-19 autopsy cases in various stages of DAD. They found an increased number of myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) in later stages, but with no significant upregulation of maturation markers in DAD specimens with high viral load. This accumulation of immature mDCs, which are unable to reach lymph nodes, results in an inadequate T-cell response.

Overall, this study highlights the need for further research to understand the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on the immune system and to develop more effective treatments for COVID-19Discover how the team employed digital analysis of multiplex IF images to gain insights into the unique immune profile in fatal COVID-19 cases. Investigate the potential impacts of SARS-CoV-2 and related coronaviridae on antigen-presenting cells. Learn about the role played by the UKA in COVID-19 autopsies.

Learning objectives
    • Experience how the team used digital analysis of multiplex IF images to learn more about the specific immune landscape in fatal COVID cases
    • Explore the possible effects of SARS-CoV-2 and related coronaviridae on antigen presenting cells
    • Understand the role of the UKA in COVID-19 autopsies

Prof Ralf Huss, University Hospital Augsburg

Ralf Huss, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Pathology and the Managing Deputy Director of Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics at the University Hospital in Augsburg, Germany. He is also the head of the Center for Digital Medicine.

Huss holds board certifications in anatomical, experimental, and molecular pathology and boasts over 30 years of expertise in histopathology, immunology, cancer research, and oncology.

Lukas Borcherding, Medical Student, Technical University of Munich

Lukas Borcherding is a trained nurse who has been pursuing a degree in medicine at the Technical University of Munich, Germany since 2015. In 2020-2021, he took a hiatus from his studies to concentrate on the COVID-19 pandemic and examine the unique immune profile in fatal cases. Following the completion of his project, Lukas has resumed his studies and is presently finishing the practical component of his education. Upon receiving his license, he intends to work in internal medicine.

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