Diagnostics 12 (11) 2789 [2022-11-14; online 2022-11-14]
Critically ill COVID-19 patients with pleural effusion experience longer hospitalization, multisystem inflammatory syndrome, and higher rates of mortality. Generally, pleural effusion can serve as a diagnostic value to differentiate cytokine levels. This study aimed to evaluate the pleural effusions of COVID-19 deceased patients for 182 protein markers. Olink® Inflammation and Organ Damage panels were used to determine the level of 184 protein markers, e.g., ADA, BTC, CA12, CAPG, CD40, CDCP1, CXCL9, ENTPD2, Flt3L, IL-6, IL-8, LRP1, OSM, PD-L1, PTN, STX8, and VEGFA, which were raised significantly in COVID-19 deceased patients, showing over-stimulation of the immune system and ravaging cytokine storm. The rises of DPP6 and EDIL3 also indicate damage caused to arterial and cardiovascular organs. Overall, this study confirms the elevated levels of CA12, CD40, IL-6, IL-8, PD-L1, and VEGFA, proposing their potential either as biomarkers for the severity and prognosis of the disease or as targets for therapy. Particularly, this study reports upregulated ADA, BTC, DPP6, EDIL3, LIF, ENTPD2, Flt3L, and LRP1 in severe COVID-19 patients for the first time. Pearson's correlation coefficient analysis indicates the involvement of JAK/STAT pathways as a core regulator of hyperinflammation in deceased COVID-19 patients, suggesting the application of JAK inhibitors as a potential efficient treatment.