Effects of recombinant IFN-α2b on the phenotype of neutrophil granulocyte subpopulations in patients with COVID-19

Investigation of molecular mechanisms associated with interferon (IFN) production and receptor function of neutrophil granulocytes (NGs) in COVID-19 is highly relevant because it can be promising in the search for new therapeutic strategies targeting NGs and their reactivity to restore and strengthen the innate immune response against SARS-CoV-2. Objective. To assess the effects of recombinant IFN-α2b on the phenotype of CD16+IFNα/βR1–CD119+, CD16+IFNα/βR1+CD119–, and CD16+IFNα/βR1+CD119+ NGs from peripheral blood of patients with COVID-19 in an in vitro experiment. Patients and methods. We analyzed blood samples from 31 patients with a mean age of 61 years (range: 57;71 years) with moderate COVID-19. We assessed the number of CD16+IFNα/βR1–CD119+, CD16+IFNα/βR1+CD119–, and CD16+IFNα/βR1+CD119+ NGs, receptor density (FC 500, ‘Beckman Coulter,’ USA), phagocytic activity of NGs before and after incubation with recombinant IFN-α2b. We also measured serum levels of several cytokines, including IFNα, IFNγ, IL-6, IL-8 (ELISA, ‘Vektor-Best’ LLC). The control group comprised 22 adult healthy individuals with a mean age of 58 years (range: 57; 70 years). Results. Patients with moderate COVID-19 demonstrated low serum levels of IFNα and IFNγ along with elevated levels of IL-6 and IL-8. We observed transformation of 3 phenotypes among NG subpopulations: CD16+IFNα/βR1–CD119+, CD16+IFNα/βR1+CD119-, and CD16+IFNα/βR1+CD119+. We observed positive remodulating effects of recombinant IFN-α2b on the number and phenotype of NG subpopulations and their phagocytic activity in our in vitro experiment. Conclusion. Recombinant IFN-α2b demonstrated positive effects in in vitro experiments; therefore, it can be considered in the future as a potential therapeutic tool for moderate COVID-19. Restoration of type I IFN might be an effective treatment option for COVID-19, because it can promote faster virus elimination, restore normal functioning of the IFN system, and have positive regulatory effects on the phenotype of NG subpopulations. © 2022, Dynasty Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Nesterova I.V. 1, 2 , Gorodin V.N.1 , Chudilova G.A. 1 , Chapurina V.N.1 , Matushkina V.A.1 , Gabdrakhmanova R.Yu.1 , Lomtatidze L.V. 1 , Kovaleva S.V. 1 , Malinovskaya V.V. 3 , Semenenko T.A.3
Dynasty Publishing House
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  • 1 Kuban State Medical University, Krasnodar, Russian Federation
  • 2 Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN), Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 3 Honorary Academician N.F.Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Moscow, Russian Federation
Covid-19; Neutrophil granulocytes; Phenotype; Recombinant interferon α2b; Subpopulations
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