Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 characterized by dysregulated levels of membrane and soluble cluster of differentiation 48

Hadas Pahima*, Ilan Zaffran, Eli Ben-Chetrit, Amir Jarjoui, Pratibha Gaur, Maria Laura Manca, Dana Reichmann, Efrat Orenbuch-Harroch, Ekaterini Tiligada, Ilaria Puxeddu, Carl Zinner, Alexandar Tzankov, Francesca Levi-Schaffer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), can progress into a severe form of acute lung injury. The cosignaling receptor cluster of differentiation 48 (CD48) exists in membrane-bound (mCD48) and soluble (sCD48) forms and has been reported to be implicated in antiviral immunity and dysregulated in several inflammatory conditions. Therefore, CD48 dysregulation may be a putative feature in COVID-19–associated inflammation that deserves consideration. Objective: To analyze CD48 expression in lung autopsies and peripheral blood leukocytes and sera of patients with COVID-19. The expression of the CD48 ligand 2B4 on the membrane of peripheral blood leukocytes was also assessed. Methods: Twenty-eight lung tissue samples obtained from COVID-19 autopsies were assessed for CD48 expression using gene expression profiling immunohistochemistry (HTG autoimmune panel). Peripheral whole blood was collected from 111 patients with COVID-19, and the expression of mCD48 and of membrane-bound 2B4 was analyzed by flow cytometry. Serum levels of sCD48 were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: Lung tissue of patients with COVID-19 showed increased CD48 messenger RNA expression and infiltration of CD48+ lymphocytes. In the peripheral blood, mCD48 was considerably increased on all evaluated cell types. In addition, sCD48 levels were significantly higher in patients with COVID-19, independently of disease severity. Conclusion: Considering the changes of mCD48 and sCD48, a role for CD48 in COVID-19 can be assumed and needs to be further investigated.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)245-253.e9
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

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