Transcriptome Sequencing of Peripheral Blood Reveals Distinct Expression Landscapes of COVID-19 and MIS-C Patients Open Access

Guo, Nanxi (Spring 2021)

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Background: The pandemic spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been proclaimed a severe public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by the WHO. Of note, children were reported symptoms similar to severe COVID-19, which has then been confirmed as a rare complication of COVID-19 in children, termed as multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). However, little is known about its genetic mechanisms compared to COVID-19.


Methods: RNA-sequencing of blood transcriptome were performed from COVID-19 and MIS-C patients in both mild and severe scenarios, as well as healthy control samples. Then bioinformatic approaches were performed to identify distinct expression landscapes of COVID-19 and MIS-C patients.


Results: Peripheral blood transcriptomes of 8 COVID-19 patients, 15 MIS-C patients and 8 healthy controls were depicted here. Immune response of COVID-19 patients compared to healthy controls were first detected. Neutrophil activation-associated terms, lymphocyte differentiation terms, and cardiomyopathy-associated terms were more enriched in comparison between COVID-19 and MIS-C, in severe illness levels. Further analyses on immune molecular signatures by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) revealed increasing of T cells (CD8+ T memory cell markers), CD14 cells in COVID-19 vs MIS-C comparison.


Conclusions: This study supported the clinical differentiation between MIS-C patients and COVID-19 patients in genetic way. Therefore, several evidence were provided for diagnostic biomarkers in COVID-19 and MIS-C patients, for better screening and diagnostics, and to treat patients with a personalized approach.

Table of Contents

Background 1

Methods 2

Human cohorts 2

RNA-sequencing 3

RNA-sequencing analysis 3

Results 4

Immune Response of COVID-19 Patients Compared to Healthy Controls 4

Differences in Gene Expression in COVID-19 Patients and MIS-C Patients 8

Immune Molecular Signatures of COVID-19 Patients Compared to MIS-C Patients 12

Discussion 14

References 20


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