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Characterization of SARS‐CoV‐2 and common cold coronavirus‐specific T‐cell responses in MIS‐C and Kawasaki disease children


The immunopathogenesis of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children that may follow exposure to SARS-CoV-2 is incompletely understood. Here, we studied SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in MIS-C, Kawasaki disease (KD), and SARS-CoV-2 convalescent controls using peptide pools derived from SARS-CoV-2 spike or nonspike proteins, and common cold coronaviruses (CCC). Coordinated CD4+ and CD8+ SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detected in five MIS-C subjects with cross-reactivity to CCC. CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses alone were documented in three and one subjects, respectively. T-cell specificities in MIS-C did not correlate with disease severity and were similar to SARS-CoV-2 convalescent controls. T-cell memory and cross-reactivity to CCC in MIS-C and SARS-CoV-2 convalescent controls were also similar. The chemokine receptor CCR6, but not CCR9, was highly expressed on SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ but not on CD8+ T cells. Only two of 10 KD subjects showed a T-cell response to CCC. Enumeration of myeloid APCs revealed low cell precursors in MIS-C subjects compared to KD. In summary, children with MIS-C mount a normal T-cell response to SARS-CoV-2 with no apparent relationship to antecedent CCC exposure. Low numbers of tolerogenic myeloid DCs may impair their anti-inflammatory response.

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