Neutrophils are important players in COVID-19, contributing to tissue damage by release of inflammatory mediators, including ROS and neutrophil elastase. Longitudinal studies on the effects of COVID-19 on neutrophil phenotype and function are scarce. Here, we longitudinally investigated the phenotype and degranulation of neutrophils in COVID-19 patients (28 nonhospitalized and 35 hospitalized patients) compared with 17 healthy donors (HDs). We assessed phenotype, degranulation, CXCL8 (IL-8) release, and ROS generation within 8 days, at one or 6 month(s) after COVID-19 diagnosis. For degranulation and ROS production, we stimulated neutrophils, either with ssRNA and TNF or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and N-Formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. During active COVID-19, neutrophils from hospitalized patients were more immature than from HDs and were impaired in degranulation and ROS generation, while neutrophils from nonhospitalized patients only demonstrated reduced CD66b+ granule release and ROS production. Baseline CD63 expression, indicative of primary granule release, and CXCL8 production by neutrophils from hospitalized patients were elevated for up to 6 months. These findings show that patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, but not nonhospitalized patients, demonstrated an aberrant neutrophil phenotype, degranulation, CXCL8 release, and ROS generation that partially persists up to 6 months after infection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean journal of immunology
Early online date2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


  • COVID-19
  • CXCL8
  • Degranulation
  • Neutrophils
  • ROS

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