We report a case of inflammatory colitis after SARS-CoV-2 infection in a patient with no additional co-morbidity who died within three weeks of hospitalization. As it is becoming increasingly clear that SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause immunological alterations, we investigated the expression of the inhibitory checkpoint PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1 to explore the potential role of this axis in the break of self-tolerance. The presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in colon tissue was demonstrated by qRT-PCR and immunohistochemical localization of the nucleocapsid protein. Expression of lymphocyte markers, PD-1, and PD-L1 in colon tissue was investigated by IHC. SARSCoV- 2-immunoreactive cells were detected both in the ulcerated and non-ulcerated mucosal areas. Compared to healthy tissue, where PD-1 is weakly expressed and PD-L1 is absent, PD-1 and PD-L1 expression appears in the inflamed mucosal tissue, as expected, but was mainly confined to non-ulcerative areas. At the same time, these markers were virtually undetectable in areas of mucosal ulceration. Our data show an alteration of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis and suggest a link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and an aberrant autoinflammatory response due to concomitant breakdown of the PD-1/ PD-L1 interaction leading to early death of the patient.

Case Report: A Peculiar Case of Inflammatory Colitis After SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Bozzo, Matteo;Greppi, Marco;Anelli, Emanuela;Bonsignore, Alessandro;Azzinnaro, Antonio;Pesce, Silvia;Rollandi, Gian Andrea;Candiani, Simona;Marcenaro, Emanuela
2022-01-01

Abstract

We report a case of inflammatory colitis after SARS-CoV-2 infection in a patient with no additional co-morbidity who died within three weeks of hospitalization. As it is becoming increasingly clear that SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause immunological alterations, we investigated the expression of the inhibitory checkpoint PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1 to explore the potential role of this axis in the break of self-tolerance. The presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in colon tissue was demonstrated by qRT-PCR and immunohistochemical localization of the nucleocapsid protein. Expression of lymphocyte markers, PD-1, and PD-L1 in colon tissue was investigated by IHC. SARSCoV- 2-immunoreactive cells were detected both in the ulcerated and non-ulcerated mucosal areas. Compared to healthy tissue, where PD-1 is weakly expressed and PD-L1 is absent, PD-1 and PD-L1 expression appears in the inflamed mucosal tissue, as expected, but was mainly confined to non-ulcerative areas. At the same time, these markers were virtually undetectable in areas of mucosal ulceration. Our data show an alteration of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis and suggest a link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and an aberrant autoinflammatory response due to concomitant breakdown of the PD-1/ PD-L1 interaction leading to early death of the patient.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1070092
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