University Of Tasmania
152108 - Antibodies against Spike protein correlate with broad autoantigen.pdf (1.97 MB)
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Antibodies against Spike protein correlate with broad autoantigen recognition 8 months post SARS-CoV-2 exposure, and anti-calprotectin autoantibodies associated with better clinical outcomes

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Autoantibodies to multiple targets are found during acute COVID-19. Whether all, or some, persist after 6 months, and their correlation with sustained anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunity, is still controversial. Herein, we measured antibodies to multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens (Wuhan-Hu-1 nucleoprotein (NP), whole spike (S), spike subunits (S1, S2 and receptor binding domain (RBD)) and Omicron spike) and 102 human proteins with known autoimmune associations, in plasma from healthcare workers 8 months post-exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (n=31 with confirmed COVID-19 disease and n=21 uninfected controls (PCR and anti-SARS-CoV-2 negative) at baseline). IgG antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 antigens were significantly higher in the convalescent cohort than the healthy cohort, highlighting lasting antibody responses up to 8 months post-infection. These were also shown to be cross-reactive to the Omicron variant spike protein at a similar level to lasting anti-RBD antibodies (correlation r=0.89). Individuals post COVID-19 infection recognised a common set of autoantigens, specific to this group in comparison to the healthy controls. Moreover, the long-term level of anti-Spike IgG was associated with the breadth of autoreactivity post-COVID-19. There were further moderate positive correlations between anti-SARS-CoV-2 responses and 11 specific autoantigens. The most commonly recognised autoantigens were found in the COVID-19 convalescent cohort. Although there was no overall correlation in self-reported symptom severity and anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels, anti-calprotectin antibodies were associated with return to healthy normal life 8 months post infection. Calprotectin was also the most common target for autoantibodies, recognized by 22.6% of the overall convalescent cohort. Future studies may address whether, counter-intuitively, such autoantibodies may play a protective role in the pathology of long-COVID-19.


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Frontiers in Immunology



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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Frontiers Research Foundation

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Copyright 2022 The Author(s) Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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