MDPI, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(22), p. 9228, 2021
The current spreading coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is highly infectious and pathogenic. In this study, we screened the gene expression of three host receptors (ACE2, DC-SIGN and L-SIGN) of SARS coronaviruses and dendritic cells (DCs) status in bulk and single cell transcriptomic datasets of upper airway, lung or blood of COVID-19 patients and healthy controls. In COVID-19 patients, DC-SIGN gene expression was interestingly decreased in lung DCs but increased in blood DCs. Within DCs, conventional DCs (cDCs) were depleted while plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) were augmented in the lungs of mild COVID-19. In severe cases, we identified augmented types of immature DCs (CD22+ or ANXA1+ DCs) with MHCII downregulation. In this study, our observation indicates that DCs in severe cases stimulate innate immune responses but fail to specifically present SARS-CoV-2. It provides insights into the profound modulation of DC function in severe COVID-19.