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  • Species: human
  • Number of cells: 30071
  • Number of downloads: 9
  • Study size: 237MB
  • Uploaded at: Jun 18, 2022

Single-Cell RNA Sequencing of Urinary Cells Reveals Distinct Cellular Diversity in COVID-19–Associated AKI

Matthew D. Cheung, Elise N. Erman, Shanrun Liu, Nathaniel B. Erdmann, Gelare Ghajar-Rahimi, Kyle H. Moore, Jeffrey C. Edberg, James F. George and Anupam Agarwal

Background: AKI is a common sequela of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and contributes to the severity and mortality from COVID-19. Here, we tested the hypothesis that kidney alterations induced by COVID-19–associated AKI could be detected in cells collected from urine. Methods: We performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) on cells recovered from the urine of eight hospitalized patients with COVID-19 with (n=5) or without AKI (n=3) as well as four patients with non–COVID-19 AKI (n=4) to assess differences in cellular composition and gene expression during AKI. Results: Analysis of 30,076 cells revealed a diverse array of cell types, most of which were kidney, urothelial, and immune cells. Pathway analysis of tubular cells from patients with AKI showed enrichment of transcripts associated with damage-related pathways compared with those without AKI. ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression was highest in urothelial cells among cell types recovered. Notably, in one patient, we detected SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in urothelial cells. These same cells were enriched for transcripts associated with antiviral and anti-inflammatory pathways. Conclusions: We successfully performed scRNAseq on urinary sediment from hospitalized patients with COVID-19 to noninvasively study cellular alterations associated with AKI and established a dataset that includes both injured and uninjured kidney cells. Additionally, we provide preliminary evidence of direct infection of urinary bladder cells by SARS-CoV-2. The urinary sediment contains a wealth of information and is a useful resource for studying the pathophysiology and cellular alterations that occur in kidney diseases.

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