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Identification of novel mechanistically distinct endotypes of pandemic influenza-associated acute respiratory failure

By Romit Samanta, Jake Dunning, Adam Taylor, Andrew I Bayliffe, Rachel C Chambers, Edwin R. Chilvers, Peter Openshaw, Charlotte Summers

Posted 14 Jul 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.12.20150474

Respiratory viral pandemics result in large numbers of cases of acute respiratory failure arising from a single etiology, thus reducing the heterogeneity of precepting insult and allowing improved insight into the variation of host responses. In 2009-2011, an influenza pandemic occurred, with pH1N1 infecting millions of people worldwide. Here, we have used novel bioinformatic methods to combine clinical, protein biomarker, and genomic data from patients with influenza-associated acute respiratory failure to identify three mechanistically discrete sub-types with significantly different clinical outcomes. The three endotypes identified can be described as neutrophil-driven (16.3%), adaptive (51.9%), and endothelial leak (31.7%). The neutrophil driven patients display evidence of innate immune activation with associated multi-organ dysfunction and reduced 30-day survival. These patients could be differentiated from the adaptive endotype by an alteration in the GAIT-mechanism, a late transcriptional regulatory response to IFN-gamma; that acts to suppress innate immunity by reducing caeruloplasmin mRNA translation. Patients with the neutrophil-driven endotype had significantly increased IFN-gamma; levels but appeared unable to suppress their innate immune response. The endothelial leak endotype could be distinguished from both the neutrophil driven and adaptive endotypes by alterations in Slit-Robo signalling, a pathway important in the maintenance of endothelial barrier integrity; Although patients with this endotype required mechanical ventilation, they did not develop multi-organ failure in the manner of the neutrophil-driven endotype patients, and had significantly better clinical outcomes. Importantly, the endotypes identified were stable over 48 hours opening up the possibility of stratified interventional clinical trials in the future.

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