Endogenous control of inflammation characterizes pregnant women with asymptomatic or paucisymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection

Sara De Biasi, Domenico Lo Tartaro, Lara Gibellini, Annamaria Paolini, Andrew Quong, Carlene Petes, Geneve Awong, Samuel Douglas, Dongxia Lin, Jordan Nieto, Francesco M Galassi, Rebecca Borella, Lucia Fidanza, Marco Mattioli, Chiara Leone, Isabella Neri, Marianna Meschiari, Luca Cicchetti, Anna G. Iannone, Tommaso TrentiMario Sarti, Massimo Girardis, Giovanni Guaraldi, Cristina Mussini, Fabio Facchinetti, Andrea Cossarizza

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SARS-CoV-2 infection can affect all human beings, including pregnant women. Thus, understanding the immunological changes induced by the virus during pregnancy is nowadays of pivotal importance. Here, using peripheral blood from 14 pregnant women with asymptomatic or mild SARS-CoV-2 infection, we investigate cell proliferation and cytokine production, measure plasma levels of 62 cytokines, and perform a 38-parameter mass cytometry analysis. Our results show an increase in low density neutrophils but no lymphopenia or gross alterations of white blood cells, which display normal levels of differentiation, activation or exhaustion markers and show well preserved functionality. Meanwhile, the plasma levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1RA, IL-10 and IL-19 are increased, those of IL-17, PD-L1 and D-dimer are decreased, but IL-6 and other inflammatory molecules remain unchanged. Our profiling of antiviral immune responses may thus help develop therapeutic strategies to avoid virus-induced damages during pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4677
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2021


  • SARS-Cov-2
  • Pregnancy
  • Immunology
  • inflammation
  • asymptomatic
  • cytokines
  • IL-17 signaling pathway
  • Neutrophils
  • translational immunology
  • viral infection


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