Skip to main content

13.01.2022 | COVID-19 | Original Investigation Zur Zeit gratis

Cellular metabolic basis of altered immunity in the lungs of patients with COVID-19

Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Shuangyan Li, Fuxiaonan Zhao, Jing Ye, Kuan Li, Qi Wang, Zhongchao Du, Qing Yue, Sisi Wang, Qi Wu, Huaiyong Chen
Wichtige Hinweise
Edited by Deyin Guo.

Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00430-021-00727-0.
Shuangyan Li, Fuxiaonan Zhao, Jing Ye and Kuan Li contributed equally to this work.

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Metabolic pathways drive cellular behavior. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes lung tissue damage directly by targeting cells or indirectly by producing inflammatory cytokines. However, whether functional alterations are related to metabolic changes in lung cells after SARS-CoV-2 infection remains unknown. Here, we analyzed the lung single-nucleus RNA-sequencing (snRNA-seq) data of several deceased COVID-19 patients and focused on changes in transcripts associated with cellular metabolism. We observed upregulated glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation in alveolar type 2 progenitor cells, which may block alveolar epithelial differentiation and surfactant secretion. Elevated inositol phosphate metabolism in airway progenitor cells may promote neutrophil infiltration and damage the lung barrier. Further, multiple metabolic alterations in the airway goblet cells are associated with impaired muco-ciliary clearance. Increased glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, and inositol phosphate metabolism not only enhance macrophage activation but also contribute to SARS-CoV-2 induced lung injury. The cytotoxicity of natural killer cells and CD8+ T cells may be enhanced by glycerolipid and inositol phosphate metabolism. Glycolytic activation in fibroblasts is related to myofibroblast differentiation and fibrogenesis. Glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, and glutathione metabolism may also boost the aging, apoptosis and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, resulting in pulmonary arterial hypertension. In conclusion, this preliminary study revealed a possible cellular metabolic basis for the altered innate immunity, adaptive immunity, and niche cell function in the lung after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, patients with COVID-19 may benefit from therapeutic strategies targeting cellular metabolism in future.

Nutzen Sie Ihre Chance: Dieser Inhalt ist zurzeit gratis verfügbar.

Bitte loggen Sie sich ein, um Zugang zu diesem Inhalt zu erhalten

Unsere Produktempfehlungen

e.Med Interdisziplinär


Für Ihren Erfolg in Klinik und Praxis - Die beste Hilfe in Ihrem Arbeitsalltag als Mediziner*in

Mit e.Med Interdisziplinär erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Fachzeitschriften auf

Jetzt e.Med zum Sonderpreis bestellen!

Nur für berechtigte Nutzer zugänglich
Über diesen Artikel

Coronavirus Corona-Update

Die aktuelle Entwicklung im Überblick: Nachrichten, Webinare, Übersichtsarbeiten.