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Patients with psychosis spectrum disorders hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic unravel overlooked SARS-CoV-2 past infection clustering with HERV-W ENV expression and chronic inflammation


Tamouza, Ryad; Meyer, Urs; Lucas, Alexandre; Richard, Jean Romain; Nkam, Irène; Pinot, Armand; Djonouma, Ndilyam; Boukouaci, Wahid; Charvet, Benjamin; Pierquin, Justine; Brunel, Joanna; Fourati, Slim; Rodriguez, Christophe; Barau, Caroline; Le Corvoisier, Philippe; El Abdellati, Kawtar; De Picker, Livia; Perron, Hervé; Leboyer, Marion (2023). Patients with psychosis spectrum disorders hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic unravel overlooked SARS-CoV-2 past infection clustering with HERV-W ENV expression and chronic inflammation. Translational Psychiatry, 13(1):272.

Abstract

Epidemiology has repeatedly associated certain infections with a risk of further developing psychiatric diseases. Such infections can activate retro-transposable genetic elements (HERV) known to trigger immune receptors and impair synaptic plasticity of neuroreceptors. Since the HERV-W ENV protein was recently shown to co-cluster with pro-inflammatory cytokines in a subgroup of patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, we questioned the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with psychosis spectrum disorders (PSD). Present results revealed that (i) SARS-CoV-2 serology shows high prevalence and titers of antibodies in PSD, (ii) HERV-W ENV is detected in seropositive individuals only and (iii) SARS-CoV-2 and HERV-W ENV positivity co-clustered with high serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in psychotic patients. These results thus suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection in many patients with psychotic disorders now admitted in the psychiatry department did not cause severe COVID-19. They also confirm the previously reported association of elevated serum pro-inflammatory cytokines and HERV-W ENV in a subgroup of psychotic patients. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this cluster is only found in SARS-CoV-2 seropositive PSD cases, suggesting a dominant influence of this virus on HERV-W ENV and cytokine expression, and/or patients’ greater susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further investigation on an interplay between this viral infection and the clinical evolution of such PSD patients is needed. However, this repeatedly defined subgroup of psychotic patients with a pro-inflammatory phenotype and HERV expression calls for a differential therapeutic approach in psychoses, therefore for further precision medicine development.

Abstract

Epidemiology has repeatedly associated certain infections with a risk of further developing psychiatric diseases. Such infections can activate retro-transposable genetic elements (HERV) known to trigger immune receptors and impair synaptic plasticity of neuroreceptors. Since the HERV-W ENV protein was recently shown to co-cluster with pro-inflammatory cytokines in a subgroup of patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, we questioned the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with psychosis spectrum disorders (PSD). Present results revealed that (i) SARS-CoV-2 serology shows high prevalence and titers of antibodies in PSD, (ii) HERV-W ENV is detected in seropositive individuals only and (iii) SARS-CoV-2 and HERV-W ENV positivity co-clustered with high serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in psychotic patients. These results thus suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection in many patients with psychotic disorders now admitted in the psychiatry department did not cause severe COVID-19. They also confirm the previously reported association of elevated serum pro-inflammatory cytokines and HERV-W ENV in a subgroup of psychotic patients. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this cluster is only found in SARS-CoV-2 seropositive PSD cases, suggesting a dominant influence of this virus on HERV-W ENV and cytokine expression, and/or patients’ greater susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further investigation on an interplay between this viral infection and the clinical evolution of such PSD patients is needed. However, this repeatedly defined subgroup of psychotic patients with a pro-inflammatory phenotype and HERV expression calls for a differential therapeutic approach in psychoses, therefore for further precision medicine development.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biological Psychiatry, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:31 July 2023
Deposited On:24 Jan 2024 07:21
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2158-3188
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-023-02575-3
PubMed ID:37524719
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)