Role of immune ageing in cardiac inflammation of convalescent COVID-19 patients
Principal Investigator: Professor Ioakim Spyridopoulos
Up to 10% of symptomatic patients in the UK have been suffering from consequences related to COVID-19 for more than three months (‘long-COVID syndrome’). Up to half of these patients have ongoing myocardial inflammation.
Ageing is related to chronic low-grade sterile inflammation, increased immunosenescence and high risk for COVID-19-related mortality. Inflammation per se leads to an alteration in cell function, which can in turn, impact on the muscular tissues around the heart, affecting the healthy function of this area.
Our own published work has allowed us to identify the potential cells that are instrumental in causing the ongoing cardiac inflammation of re-convalescent COVID-19 patients. Identification of potential targets would present ideal ground for anti-inflammatory immunotherapy, potentially avoiding progression of patients into future heart failure.
In this project we will study 100 blood samples from patients aged 60 and over, in the Public Health England approved COVID-HEART study, taken six months after hospitalisation for COVID-19, paralleled by sequential cardiac MRIs. Blood will be analysed for antigen responses, compared with control patients showing normal cardiac MRI.