Immune defects and cardiovascular risk in X chromosome monosomy mosaicism mediated by loss of chromosome Y. A risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 vulnerability in elderly men?

Luis Perez-Jurado, Alejandro Caceres, Tunu Esko, Juan Gonzalez

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Received date: 24th April 2020

The ongoing pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19) has an estimated overall case fatality ratio of 1.38% in China, being 53% higher in males and increasing exponentially with age. Mosaicism for X chromosome monosomy (XCM) shows a similar increase in aging population mostly driven by loss of chromosome Y in males (LOY), and is associated with a rise in all-cause mortality. Using comparative transcriptomic data from a cohort of the general population of Estonia, we have defined that XCM/LOY is associated with abnormal peripheral blood cell counts with decreased progenitor cells and multiple biomarkers of immune system dysfunction, pro-coagulation activity and increased cardiovascular risk. Several differentially down-regulated genes in XCM/LOY individuals were involved in the initial immune response of infected cell lines to SARS-CoV-2 (OR of enrichment=7.23, p=1.5x10-7), mainly interferon-induced genes that code for inhibitors of viral processes. Thus, our data suggest that XCM mosaicism underlies at least part of the sex-biased severity and mortality of COVID-19 in aging patients. Given its potential relevance for modulating prognosis and therapeutic response, we propose that evaluation of LOY and XCM by currently established methods should be implemented as biomarkers in infected patients, including currently ongoing clinical trials with different medications and vaccines for COVID-19.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

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Nature Research, Springer Nature