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Single Cell RNA-seq of Human Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells in Late Sepsis Reveals Multiple Subsets with Unique Transcriptional Responses: A Pilot Study
Dijoia B. Darden, Rhonda Bacher, Maigan A. Brusko, Parker Knight, Russell B. Hawkins, Michael C. Cox, Marvin L. Dirain, Ricardo Ungaro, Dina C. Nacionales, Jaimar C. Rincon, Marie-Pierre L. Gauthier, Michael Kladde, Azra Bihorac, Todd M. Brusko, Frederick A. Moore, Scott C. Brakenridge, Alicia M. Mohr, Lyle L. Moldawer, and Philip A. Efron
Increased circulating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are independently associated with poor long-term clinical outcomes in sepsis. Studies implicate subsets of MDSCs having unique roles in lymphocyte suppression; however, characterization of these cells after sepsis remains incomplete. We performed a pilot study to determine the transcriptomic landscape in MDSC subsets in sepsis using single-cell RNAseq (scRNA-seq).
A mixture of whole blood myeloid-enriched and Ficoll-enriched PBMC’s from two late septic patients on post-sepsis day 21 and two control subjects underwent Cellular Indexing of Transcriptomes and Epitopes by Sequencing (CITE-seq).
We successfully identified the three MDSC subset clusters – granulocytic (G-), monocytic (M-), and early (E-) MDSCs. Sepsis was associated with a greater relative expansion of G-MDSCs versus M-MDSCs at 21 days as compared to control subjects. Genomic analysis between septic patients and control subjects revealed cell-specific and common differential expression of genes in both G-MDSC and M-MDSC subsets. Many of the common genes have previously been associated with MDSC proliferation and immunosuppressive function. Interestingly, there was no differential expression of several genes demonstrated in the literature to be vital to immunosuppression in cancer-induced MDSC.
This pilot study successfully demonstrated that MDSCs maintain a transcriptomic profile that is immunosuppressive in late sepsis. Interestingly, the landscape in chronic critical illness is partially dependent on the original septic insult. Preliminary data would also indicate immunosuppressive MDSCs from late sepsis patients appear to have a somewhat unique transcriptome from cancer and/or other inflammatory diseases.