Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Frontiers in Immunology




Frontiers Media S.A.


Centre for Precision Health




Special Major Application Research Project for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Universities, Department of Education of Guangdong, Provincial Program of Innovation and Strengthening School, Guangdong, China / Special Project for COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment of Shantou Science and Technology Bureau, Guangdong, China


Zheng, Z., Zhou, Y., Song, Y., Ying, P., & Tan, X. (2023). Genetic and immunological insights into COVID-19 with acute myocardial infarction: Integrated analysis of mendelian randomization, transcriptomics, and clinical samples. Frontiers in Immunology, 14, article 1286087.


Background: Globally, most deaths result from cardiovascular diseases, particularly ischemic heart disease. COVID-19 affects the heart, worsening existing heart conditions and causing myocardial injury. The mechanistic link between COVID-19 and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is still being investigated to elucidate the underlying molecular perspectives. Methods: Genetic risk assessment was conducted using two-sample Mendelian randomization (TSMR) to determine the causality between COVID-19 and AMI. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and machine learning were used to discover and validate shared hub genes for the two diseases using bulk RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) datasets. Additionally, gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) analyses were performed to characterize immune cell infiltration, communication, and immune correlation of the hub genes. To validate the findings, the expression patterns of hub genes were confirmed in clinical blood samples collected from COVID-19 patients with AMI. Results: TSMR did not find evidence supporting a causal association between COVID-19 or severe COVID-19 and AMI. In the bulk RNA-seq discovery cohorts for both COVID-19 and AMI, WGCNA’s intersection analysis and machine learning identified TLR4 and ABCA1 as significant hub genes, demonstrating high diagnostic and predictive value in the RNA-seq validation cohort. Single-gene GSEA and single-sample GSEA (ssGSEA) revealed immune and inflammatory roles for TLR4 and ABCA1, linked to various immune cell infiltrations. Furthermore, scRNA-seq analysis unveiled significant immune dysregulation in COVID-19 patients, characterized by altered immune cell proportions, phenotypic shifts, enhanced cell-cell communication, and elevated TLR4 and ABCA1 in CD16 monocytes. Lastly, the increased expression of TLR4, but not ABCA1, was validated in clinical blood samples from COVID-19 patients with AMI. Conclusion: No genetic causal link between COVID-19 and AMI and dysregulated TLR4 and ABCA1 may be responsible for the development of immune and inflammatory responses in COVID-19 patients with AMI.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.