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Composition of the immunoglobulin G glycome associates with the severity of COVID-19

Petrović T, Alves I, Bugada D, Pascual J, Vučković F, Skelin A, Gaifem J, Villar-Garcia J, Vicente MM, Fernandes Â, Dias AM, Kurolt IC, Markotić A, Primorac D, Soares A, Malheiro L, Trbojević-Akmačić I, Abreu M, Sarmento E Castro R, Bettinelli S, Callegaro A, Arosio M, Sangiorgio L, Lorini LF, Castells X, Horcajada JP, Pinho SS, Allegri M, Barrios C, Lauc G.

Glycobiology. 2020 Nov.


A large variation in the severity of disease symptoms is one of the key open questions in COVID-19 pandemics. The fact that only a small subset of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop severe disease suggests that there have to be some predisposing factors, but biomarkers that reliably predict disease severity have not been found so far. Since overactivation of the immune system is implicated in a severe form of COVID-19 and the IgG glycosylation is known to be involved in the regulation of different immune processes, we evaluated the association of inter-individual variation in IgG N-glycome composition with the severity of COVID-19. The analysis of 166 severe and 167 mild cases from hospitals in Spain, Italy and Portugal revealed statistically significant differences in the composition of the IgG N-glycome. The most notable difference was the decrease in bisecting Nacetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) in severe patients from all three cohorts. IgG galactosylation was also lower in severe cases in all cohorts, but the difference in galactosylation was not statistically significant after correction for multiple testing. To our knowledge, this is the first study exploring IgG N-glycome variability in COVID-19 severity.

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