Can inflammatory plasma proteins predict Long COVID or Fatigue severity after SARS-CoV-2 infection?

Publication date: Mar 18, 2024

To investigate whether specific immune response plasma proteins can predict an elevated risk of developing Long COVID symptoms or fatigue severity after SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study was based on 257 outpatients with test-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection between February 2020 and January 2021. At least 12 weeks after the acute infection, 92 plasma proteins were measured using the Olink Target 96 immune response panel (median time between acute infection and venous blood sampling was 38. 8 [IQR: 24. 0-48. 0] weeks). The presence of Long COVID symptoms and fatigue severity was assessed 115. 8 [92. 5-118. 6] weeks after the acute infection by a follow-up postal survey. Long COVID (yes/no) was defined as having one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, shortness of breath, concentration or memory problems. The severity of fatigue was assessed using the Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS). In multivariable-adjusted logistic and linear regression models the associations between each plasma protein (exposure) and Long COVID (yes/no) or severity of fatigue were investigated. Nine plasma proteins were significantly associated with Long COVID before, but not after adjusting for multiple testing (FDR-adjustment): DFFA, TRIM5, TRIM21, HEXIM1, SRPK2, PRDX5, PIC3AB1, IFNLR1 and HCLS1. Moreover, a total of 10 proteins were significantly associated with severity of fatigue before FDR-adjustment: SRPK2, ITGA6, CLEC4G, HEXIM1, PPP1R9B, PLXNA4, PRDX5, DAPP1, STC1 and HCLS1. Only SRPK2 and ITGA6 remained significantly associated after FDR-adjustment. This study demonstrates that certain immune response plasma proteins might play an important role in the pathophysiology of Long COVID and severity of fatigue after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Concepts Keywords
January fatigue
Outpatients inflammatory protein markers
Ppp1r9b Long COVID


Type Source Name
disease MESH Long COVID
disease MESH SARS-CoV-2 infection
pathway REACTOME SARS-CoV-2 Infection
disease IDO immune response
disease IDO acute infection
disease VO time

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