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Unifying recovery dynamics in heterogeneous diseases exemplified by COVID-19

Studying the recovery dynamics in different diseases poses many difficulties, as patients often display high heterogeneity in their recovery courses. Moreover, most attempts to study disease dynamics focus on disease progression rather than disease recovery mechanisms. To model recovery dynamics, using severe COVID-19 as the example, we align heterogeneous recovery trajectories via a novel computational scheme applied to longitudinally sampled blood transcriptomes. We thus generate pseudotime trajectories, which we then link to cellular and molecular mechanisms based on cell deconvolution analysis and molecular pathway prediction, thus presenting a unique framework for studying recovery processes over time. Specifically, mature neutrophils displayed a gradual decrease during recovery, allowing superior useability for outcome prediction compared to currently used clinical markers. Further, we discovered a recovery-related regulatory change in gene programs resulting in immune rebalancing between interferon and NFkB activity and the restoration of cell homeostasis. We thus propose regulatory mechanisms governing COVID-19 recovery and suggest mature neutrophils and additional gene markers, as novel clinical biomarkers for disease outcome. Overall, we present a novel clinically relevant computational framework for modeling disease recovery, paving the way for future studies of the recovery dynamics in other diseases and tissues.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001008331 NextSeq 500 258
Publications Citations
Mature neutrophils and a NF-κB-to-IFN transition determine the unifying disease recovery dynamics in COVID-19.
Cell Rep Med 3: 2022 100652