We examine the cellular and soluble determinants of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relative to aging by performing mass cytometry in parallel with clinical blood testing and plasma proteomic profiling of ~4,700 proteins from 71 individuals with pulmonary disease and 148 healthy donors (25–80 years old). Distinct cell populations were associated with age (GZMK+CD8+ T cells and CD25low CD4+ T cells) and with COVID-19 (TBETEOMES CD4+ T cells, HLA-DR+CD38+ CD8+ T cells and CD27+CD38+ B cells). A unique population of TBET+EOMES+ CD4+ T cells was associated with individuals with COVID-19 who experienced moderate, rather than severe or lethal, disease. Disease severity correlated with blood creatinine and urea nitrogen levels. Proteomics revealed a major impact of age on the disease-associated plasma signatures and highlighted the divergent contribution of hepatocyte and muscle secretomes to COVID-19 plasma proteins. Aging plasma was enriched in matrisome proteins and heart/aorta smooth muscle cell-specific proteins. These findings reveal age-specific and disease-specific changes associated with COVID-19, and potential soluble mediators of the physiological impact of COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-549
Number of pages15
JournalNature Aging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


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