Differential alterations in peripheral lymphocyte subsets in COVID-19 patients: upregulation of double-positive and double-negative T cells
Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine
Viral infections cause alteration in the total number of lymphocytes and their subset distribution. We aimed to study peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets in COVID-19 patients and to correlate these subsets with clinical and laboratory data, which may help in clarifying the pathogenesis to develop novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for COVID-19.Methods: Twenty-six reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) confirmed COVID-19 patients were subjected to medical history-taking
... ical history-taking and a thorough clinical examination. Laboratory tests included complete blood count, D dimer, ferritin, and C-reactive protein (CRP). Chest CT was used to diagnose COVID-19 pneumonia. Lymphocyte subsets were compared with those in 20 healthy controls using flow cytometry.Results: Leucopenia, relative neutrophilia, lymphopenia, eosinopenia together with marked elevation in neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio were observed in our COVID-19 patients. A marked reduction was observed in T cells, including both CD4 and CD8 cells, natural killer (NK), and natural killer T cells (NKT). Double-positive T (DPT) cells, double-negative T (DNT) cells, and B cells were elevated in the patients relative to the other lymphocyte subsets.Conclusion: Immune-inflammatory parameters are of utmost importance in understanding the pathogenesis and in the provisional diagnosis of COVID-19. Yet, due care must be taken during their interpretation because of the vast discrepancies observed between studies even in the same locality. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of B cells, DPT, and DNT cells in the pathogenesis and control of COVID-19.