10 Scopus citations


SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has given rise to one of the largest pandem-ics, affecting millions worldwide. High neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratios have been identified as an important correlate to poor recovery rates in severe COVID-19 patients. However, the mechanisms underlying this clinical outcome and the reasons for its correlation to poor prognosis are unclear. Furthermore, the mechanisms involved in healthy neutrophils acquiring a SARS-CoV-2-mediated detrimental role are yet to be fully understood. In this study, we isolated circulating neutrophils from healthy donors for treatment with supernates from infected epithelial cells and direct infection with SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Infected epithelial cells induced a dysregulated degranulation of primary granules with a decrease in myeloperoxidase (MPO), but slight increase in neutrophil elastase re-lease. Infection of neutrophils resulted in an impairment of both MPO and elastase release, even though CD16 receptor shedding was upregulated. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2-infected neutrophils had a direct effect on peripheral blood lymphocyte counts, with decreasing numbers of CD19+ B cells, CD8+ T cells, and CD4+ T cells. Together, this study highlights the independent role of neu-trophils in contributing to the aberrant immune responses observed during SARS-CoV-2 infection that may be further dysregulated in the presence of other immune cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number382
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Degranulation
  • Elastase
  • Lymphocytes
  • MPO
  • Neutrophils
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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