Increasing Protective Molecules May Limit COVID-19 Related Inflammation

Not much is known about the relationship between the expression and activity of SPM pathways and COVID-19 disease severity.

A recent study conducted by investigators from the William Harvey Research Institute

at Queen Mary University of London has discovered that the production of protective molecules known as specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM) is altered in patients with COVID-19 and may play a role in uncontrolled inflammation.

Results from the study were published in the journal Circulation Research.

"Our results are the first to relate the impact that COVID-19 infections on immune responses and to explore the utility of using SPM to rectify white blood cell behavior,” Jesmond Dalli, an author on the study said. “Given the extensive body of literature demonstrating the protective role of these molecules in limiting inflammation in both viral and bacterial infections these results suggest that SPM and SPM-based therapeutics may be useful in the treatment of infections to limit inflammation without compromising the ability of the immune system to deal with the invading pathogen.”

For the study, the team of investigators investigated the link between circulating SPM concentrations and phagocyte activation status and function in 39 COVID-19 patients, 12 healthy patients and 8 volunteers who had a previous infection with COVID-19.

Findings from the study showed that there was a link between decreased SPM levels in the blood and disrupted white blood cell responses in those who had a higher burden of disease from COVID-19.

Additionally, it was observed that the therapy dexamethasone, which was the first drug approved for the treatment of COVID-19, increased the levels of SPM.

The treatment of white blood cells with SPM also demonstrated that it improved their functioning and reduced the expression of molecules that have been linked with the spread of inflammation.

"This study is a perfect example of a productive partnership between Barts and the London School of Medicine at Queen Mary and Barts NHS Trust, a partnership established in difficult circumstances yet successful thanks to the will and commitment of our scientists and clinicians,” Mauro Perretti, an author on the study said. “The paper presents world class data on how resolution pathways impact on COVID infection, opening opportunities for new therapies and new markers to predict patient outcome.”