Publication date: Sep 07, 2023
While localized inflammation has been implicated in the pathophysiology of acute coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) olfactory dysfunction (OD), persistent COVID-19 OD remains poorly understood with limited therapeutics. Our prospective study evaluated olfactory cleft (OC) biomarkers as predictors of persistent OD in mucus sampling. COVID-19 subjects with persistent OD >3 months confirmed by psychophysical olfaction tests were compared to COVID-19 subjects with no OD and those with no prior infection. OC mucus samples were evaluated for 13 anti-viral and inflammatory biomarkers. Cohorts were compared using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Mann-Whitney tests with multi-comparison adjustment. Viral RNA was assessed through RT-PCR using the COVID-19 N2 primer. Thirty-five samples were collected (20 COVID persistent OD, 8 COVID no OD, and 7 non-COVID no OD). Significant differences in IFN-λ1 (p = 0. 007) and IFN-γ (p = 0. 006) expression in OC mucus were found across all three groups, with the highest cytokine concentrations corresponding to COVID OD. IFN-α2 levels were elevated in COVID OD versus no OD (p = 0. 026). Mean IFN-γ levels were the highest in COVID OD, but there were higher levels found in COVID no OD compared to non-COVID no OD (p = 0. 008). No difference was seen in IL6. No N2 gene expression was detected in all cohorts. IFN pathway cytokines were found elevated in the olfactory microenvironment of COVID-19 persistent OD compared to those with no OD and no prior history of COVID-19 infection.
|Pcr||persistent smell loss|