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COVID-19 Severity Potentially Modulated by Cardiovascular-Disease-Associated Immune Dysregulation.

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Patients with underlying cardiovascular conditions are particularly vulnerable to severe COVID-19. In this project, we aimed to characterize similarities in dysregulated immune pathways between COVID-19 patients and patients with cardiomyopathy, venous thromboembolism (VTE), or coronary artery disease (CAD). We hypothesized that these similarly dysregulated pathways may be critical to how cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) exacerbate COVID-19. To evaluate immune dysregulation in different diseases, we used four separate datasets, including RNA-sequencing data from human left ventricular cardiac muscle samples of patients with dilated or ischemic cardiomyopathy and healthy controls; RNA-sequencing data of whole blood samples from patients with single or recurrent event VTE and healthy controls; RNA-sequencing data of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with and without obstructive CAD; and RNA-sequencing data of platelets from COVID-19 subjects and healthy controls. We found similar immune dysregulation profiles between patients with CVDs and COVID-19 patients. Interestingly, cardiomyopathy patients display the most similar immune landscape to COVID-19 patients. Additionally, COVID-19 patients experience greater upregulation of cytokine- and inflammasome-related genes than patients with CVDs. In all, patients with CVDs have a significant overlap of cytokine- and inflammasome-related gene expression profiles with that of COVID-19 patients, possibly explaining their greater vulnerability to severe COVID-19.

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