Comparison of systemic inflammatory profiles in COVID-19 and community-acquired pneumonia patients: a prospective cohort study

Elsa D Ibáñez-Prada, Matthew Fish, Yuli V Fuentes, Ingrid G Bustos, Cristian C Serrano-Mayorga, Julian Lozada, Jennifer Rynne, Aislinn Jennings, Ana M Crispin, Ana Maria Santos, John Londoño, Manu Shankar-Hari, Luis Felipe Reyes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Inflammatory responses contribute to tissue damage in COVID-19 and community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Although predictive values of different inflammatory biomarkers have been reported in both, similarities and differences of inflammatory profiles between these conditions remain uncertain. Therefore, we aimed to determine the similarities and differences of the inflammatory profiles between COVID-19 and CAP, and their association with clinical outcomes.

METHODS: We report a prospective observational cohort study; conducted in a reference hospital in Latin America. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia and CAP were included. Multiplex (Luminex) cytokine assays were used to measure the plasma concentration of 14 cytokines at hospital admission. After comparing similarities and differences in the inflammatory profile between COVID-19 and CAP patients, an unsupervised classification method (i.e., hierarchical clustering) was used to identify subpopulations within COVID-19 and CAP patients.

RESULTS: A total of 160 patients were included, 62.5% were diagnosed with COVID-19 (100/160), and 37.5% with CAP (60/160). Using the hierarchical clustering, COVID-19 and CAP patients were divided based on its inflammatory profile: pauci, moderate, and hyper-inflammatory immune response. COVID-19 hyper-inflammatory subpopulation had the highest mortality. COVID-19 hyper-inflammatory subpopulation, compared to pauci-inflammatory, had higher levels of IL-10 (median [IQR] 61.4 [42.0-109.4] vs 13.0 [5.0-24.9], P: < 0.001), IL-6 (48.1 [22.3-82.6] vs 9.1 [0.1-30.4], P: < 0.001), among others. Hyper-inflammatory vs pauci-inflammatory CAP patients were characterized by elevation of IFN2 (48.8 [29.7-110.5] vs 3.0 [1.7-10.3], P: < 0.001), TNFα (36.3 [24.8-53.4] vs 13.1 [11.3-16.9], P: < 0.001), among others. Hyper-inflammatory subpopulations in COVID-19 and CAP compared to the corresponding pauci-inflammatory subpopulations had higher MCP-1.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data highlights three distinct subpopulations in COVID-19 and CAP, with differences in inflammatory marker profiles and risks of adverse clinical outcomes.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: This is a prospective study, therefore no health care intervention were applied to participants and trial registration is not applicable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
JournalRespiratory research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • COVID-19/complications
  • Pneumonia/diagnosis
  • Cytokines
  • Hospitalization
  • Community-Acquired Infections/diagnosis


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