Histochemical Evidence for Reduced Immune Response in Nasal Mucosa of Patients with COVID-19

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



The primary entry point of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the nasal mucosa, where viral-induced inflammation occurs. When the immune response fails against SARS-CoV-2, understanding the altered response becomes crucial. This study aimed to compare SARS-CoV-2 immunological responses in the olfactory and respiratory mucosa by focusing on epithelia and nerves. Between 2020 and 2022, we obtained post mortem tissues from the olfactory cleft from 10 patients with histologically intact olfactory epithelia (OE) who died with or from COVID-19, along with four age-matched controls. These tissues were subjected to immunohistochemical reactions using antibodies against T cell antigens CD3, CD8, CD68, and SARS spike protein for viral evidence. Deceased patients with COVID-19 exhibited peripheral lymphopenia accompanied by a local decrease in CD3+ cells in the OE. However, SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was sparsely detectable in the OE. With regard to the involvement of nerve fibers, the present analysis suggested that SARS-CoV-2 did not significantly alter the immune response in olfactory or trigeminal fibers. On the other hand, SARS spike protein was detectable in both nerves. In summary, the post mortem investigation demonstrated a decreased T cell response in patients with COVID-19 and signs of SARS-CoV-2 presence in olfactory and trigeminal fibers.


FachzeitschriftInternational journal of molecular sciences
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Apr. 2024

Externe IDs

PubMed 38674011
ORCID /0000-0001-9713-0183/work/159608508



  • COVID-19, SARS spike protein, T cells, immune response, immunohistochemistry, post mortem, T-Lymphocytes/immunology, Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology, Humans, Middle Aged, Nasal Mucosa/immunology, COVID-19/immunology, Male, SARS-CoV-2/immunology, Autopsy, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Adult, Aged, Olfactory Mucosa/immunology