Publications & Posters

The autoimmune signature of hyperinflammatory multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children

The Journal of Clinical Investigation | August 26, 2021

Porritt RA, Binek A, Paschold L, Noval Rivas M, Mc Ardle A, Yonker LM, Alter G, Chandnani HK, Lopez M, Fasano A, Van Eyk JE, Binder M and Arditi M

The Journal of clinical investigation. 2021

DOI: 10.1172/JCI151520

This study was performed using a Simoa Homebrew assay.


Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) manifests as a severe and uncontrolled inflammatory response with multiorgan involvement, occurring weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here we utilized proteomics, RNA sequencing, autoantibody arrays and B-cell receptor (BCR) repertoire analysis to characterize MIS-C immunopathogenesis and identify factors contributing to severe manifestations and intensive care unit admission. Inflammation markers, humoral immune responses, neutrophil activation, complement and coagulation pathways were highly enriched in MIS-C patient serum, with a more hyperinflammatory profile in severe than in mild MIS-C cases. We identified a strong autoimmune signature in MIS-C, with autoantibodies targeted to both ubiquitously expressed and tissue-specific antigens, suggesting autoantigen release and excessive antigenic drive may result from systemic tissue damage. We further identified a cluster of patients with enhanced neutrophil responses as well as high anti-spike IgG and autoantibody titers. BCR sequencing of these patients identified a strong imprint of antigenic drive with substantial BCR sequence connectivity and usage of autoimmunity-associated immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region (IGHV) genes. This cluster was linked to a TRBV11-2 expanded T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire, consistent with previous studies indicating a superantigen-driven pathogenic process. Overall, we identify a combination of pathogenic pathways that culminate in MIS-C and may inform treatment.