Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Children with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) present milder symptoms than adults and are at lower risk of hospitalization and life-threatening complications. However, the kinetics of lymphocyte subsets and serum immunoglobulins in the peripheral blood during COVID-19 infection remains unclear. In this study, it was aimed to determine the changes in hematological and immunological parameters, especially in the lymphocyte subsets, in the peripheral blood of children with different COVID-19 disease severity. Materials and methods: The study was planned as a prospective cohort and included 68 children aged 0?18 years who were admitted to Ege University Faculty of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and diagnosed with COVID-19 infection between May 2020 and December 2021. In addition to demographic characteristics, clinical findings, and severity criteria, hematological, biochemical, and immunological laboratory (T/B lymphocyte subgroups, serum immunoglobulins) results were noted and examined if there were some correlations between disease severity and the laboratory values. Results: In the study group, while 60.6% (n = 40) of the patients received treatment in the hospital, 10.6% (n = 7) needed intensive care treatment. Lymphopenia (35.3%) was more common than neutropenia (14.7%) in the COVID-19-infected children. CD19+ B cells were low in a very high percentage of patients (26.5%), and 16.2% had low levels of NK cells. Significant correlation between disease severity and CD19+lymphocytes, CD19+CD38+IgMlow lymphocytes, CD19+CD38+CD27highIgMhigh lymphocytes, CD19+CD81+ lymphocytes (p = 0.001, p = 0.008, p = 0.014, p = 0.025, and rs = 0.394, rs = 0.326, rs = 0.303, rs = 0.280, respectively), significant inverse correlation between disease severity and absolute lymphocytes counts and CD3-CD16+CD56+ lymphocytes (p = 0.004, 0.014, and rs = ?0.353, rs = ?0.304, respectively) were observed. The percentage of hospitalized patients with low CD3 levels (15%) was significantly higher than that of the outpatients with low CD3 levels. Conclusion: As the severity of the disease increased, the CD19+, CD19+CD38+IgMlow, CD19+CD38+CD27highIgMhigh, and CD19+CD81+ lymphocytes percentages increased, while the lymphocyte count and NK cell percentage decreased. Therefore, detecting these prognostic immunobiomarkers related to the severity of the disease may contribute considerably to management of the illness.


B Lymphocytes, children, COVID-19, immunology, natural killer cells, disease severity

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