Decreased circulating CD73 and adenosine deaminase are associated with disease severity in hospitalized patients with COVID-19

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2023



Journal Title

International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology

MeSH Headings

Humans; COVID-19; Adenosine Deaminase (metabolism); SARS-CoV-2; Pilot Projects; Adenosine (metabolism); Patient Acuity


OBJECTIVE: SARS-CoV-2 infection has been shown to result in increased circulating levels of adenosine triphosphate and adenosine diphosphate and decreased levels of adenosine, which has important anti-inflammatory activity. The goal of this pilot project was to assess the levels of soluble CD73 and soluble Adenosine Deaminase (ADA) in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and determine if levels of these molecules are associated with disease severity. METHODS: Plasma from 28 PCR-confirmed hospitalized COVID-19 patients who had varied disease severity based on WHO classification (6 mild/moderate, 10 severe, 12 critical) had concentrations of both soluble CD73 and ADA determined by ELISA. These concentrations were compared to healthy control plasma that is commercially available and was biobanked prior to the start of the pandemic. Additionally, outcomes such as WHO ordinal scale for disease severity, ICU admission, needed for invasive ventilation, hospital length of stay, and development of thrombosis during admission were used as markers of disease severity. RESULTS: Our results show that both CD73 and ADA are decreased during SARS-CoV-2 infection. The level of circulating CD73 is directly correlated to the severity of the disease defined by the need for ICU admission, invasive ventilation, and hospital length of stay. Low level of CD73 is also associated with clinical thrombosis, a severe complication of SARS-CoV-2 infection. CONCLUSION: Our study indicates that adenosine metabolism is down-regulated in patients with COVID-19 and associated with severe infection. Further large-scale studies are warranted to investigate the role of the adenosinergic anti-inflammatory CD73/ADA axis in protection against COVID-19.

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