Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) Cell Responses Differ by Sex in COVID-19.


Sexual dimorphisms in immune responses contribute to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes, yet the mechanisms governing this disparity remain incompletely understood. We carried out sex-balanced sampling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from confirmed COVID-19 inpatients and outpatients, uninfected close contacts, and healthy controls for 36-color flow cytometry and single cell RNA-sequencing. Our results revealed a pronounced reduction of circulating mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in infected females. Integration of published COVID-19 airway tissue datasets implicate that this reduction represented a major wave of MAIT cell extravasation during early infection in females. Moreover, female MAIT cells possessed an immunologically active gene signature, whereas male counterparts were pro-apoptotic. Collectively, our findings uncover a female-specific protective MAIT profile, potentially shedding light on reduced COVID-19 susceptibility in females.





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Publication Info

Yu, Chen, Sejiro Littleton, Nicholas S Giroux, Rose Mathew, Shengli Ding, Joan Kalnitsky, Yuchen Yang, Elizabeth Petzold, et al. (2021). Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) Cell Responses Differ by Sex in COVID-19. Med (New York, N.Y.). 10.1016/j.medj.2021.04.008 Retrieved from

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