ISSN: 0973-7510

E-ISSN: 2581-690X

Research Article | Open Access
Dalia M. Ibrahim1 , Fatma M. Mahmoud1, Wafaa K. Zaki1, Amr H. Hamza2 and Nadia M. ElSheshtawy1
¹Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Postal Code 11591, Egypt.
²Anathesia, Intensive Care and Pain Management Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Postal Code 11591, Egypt.
J Pure Appl Microbiol. 2021;15(2):650-657 | Article Number: 6899 | © The Author(s). 2021
Received: 20/02/2021 | Accepted: 19/03/2021 | Published: 14/04/2021

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is a major global concern, is characterized by a progressive disease pattern involving diverse host immune responses. Programmed cell death marker-1(PD-1) expression, a critical checkpoint for T cell exhaustion, can be modulated by interleukin-10, which also mediates apoptotic T cell cytopenia. We aimed to measure the level of PD-1 expression and to investigate its correlation with IL-10 serum levels in modulating T cell effector function, correlating the results with the level of severity of the disease. This study involved 40 patients with COVID-19 and 20 healthy controls. Using flow cytometry, the expression of PD-1 was determined on CD8+ T lymphocytes and CD4+ T lymphocytes. ELISA was used to determine the levels of IL-10 in the serum. We found a remarkable decrease in T cell counts with functionally exhausted surviving T cells in the patient groups, especially in patients with severe disease. PD-1 expression increased significantly in CD4+, CD8+, and total T cells, showing a higher expression in CD8+ T cells. The patient groups had significantly higher serum IL-10 levels than the control group. The ROC analysis demonstrated the predictive role of IL-10 levels in disease severity (65% sensitivity, 80% specificity, and AUC = 0.806). IL-10 serum levels and PD-1 expression in total T cells were positively correlated, suggesting that IL-10 participates in T cell exhaustion.


T cell exhaustion markers, PD-1, IL-10, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2

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© The Author(s) 2021. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License which permits unrestricted use, sharing, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.