Research offers new insights into uncontrolled inflammation in COVID-19

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Research led by Queen Mary University of London provides new insight into the mechanisms that lead to uncontrolled inflammation in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. The study is published in the journal Circulation Research.

For the study, researchers discovered how the production of protective molecules known as specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM) is altered in patients with COVID-19. The results suggest that treatments that increase SPM production could play a key role in limiting inflammation in these patients.

Currently there is little understanding around the mechanisms that lead to uncontrolled inflammation in patients with COVID-19. The study found a link between decreased SPM blood levels and disrupted white blood cell responses in patients with a higher disease burden.

The findings also revealed that treatment of white blood cells with SPM improved their function and reduced the expression of molecules linked to the spread of inflammation. Understanding these mechanisms will help provide new leads into the development of treatments to limit disease severity in patients with COVID-19, the researchers said.

"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,” said Jesmond Dalli, PhD, lead author of the study and a professor in molecular pharmacology at Queen Mary University of London, in a statement. “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.”

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