Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction

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Publication Type

15 results found

Michael BD, Dunai C, Needham EJ, Tharmaratnam K, Williams R, Huang Y, Boardman SA, Clark JJ, Sharma P, Subramaniam K, Wood GK, Collie C, Digby R, Ren A, Norton E, Leibowitz M, Ebrahimi S, Fower A, Fox H, Tato E, Ellul MA, Sunderland G, Held M, Hetherington C, Egbe FN, Palmos A, Stirrups K, Grundmann A, Chiollaz A-C, Sanchez J-C, Stewart JP, Griffiths M, Solomon T, Breen G, Coles AJ, Kingston N, Bradley JR, Chinnery PF, Cavanagh J, Irani SR, Vincent A, Baillie JK, Openshaw PJ, Semple MG, ISARIC4C Investigators, COVID-CNS Consortium, Taams LS, Menon DKet al., 2023, Para-infectious brain injury in COVID-19 persists at follow-up despite attenuated cytokine and autoantibody responses, Nature Communications, Vol: 14, ISSN: 2041-1723

To understand neurological complications of COVID-19 better both acutely and for recovery, we measured markers of brain injury, inflammatory mediators, and autoantibodies in 203 hospitalised participants; 111 with acute sera (1-11 days post-admission) and 92 convalescent sera (56 with COVID-19-associated neurological diagnoses). Here we show that compared to 60 uninfected controls, tTau, GFAP, NfL, and UCH-L1 are increased with COVID-19 infection at acute timepoints and NfL and GFAP are significantly higher in participants with neurological complications. Inflammatory mediators (IL-6, IL-12p40, HGF, M-CSF, CCL2, and IL-1RA) are associated with both altered consciousness and markers of brain injury. Autoantibodies are more common in COVID-19 than controls and some (including against MYL7, UCH-L1, and GRIN3B) are more frequent with altered consciousness. Additionally, convalescent participants with neurological complications show elevated GFAP and NfL, unrelated to attenuated systemic inflammatory mediators and to autoantibody responses. Overall, neurological complications of COVID-19 are associated with evidence of neuroglial injury in both acute and late disease and these correlate with dysregulated innate and adaptive immune responses acutely.

Journal article

Roper KJ, Thomas J, Albalawi W, Maddocks E, Dobson S, Alshehri A, Barone FG, Baltazar M, Semple MG, Ho A, Turtle L, ISARIC4C Consortium, Paxton WA, Pollakis Get al., 2023, Quantifying neutralising antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 in dried blood spots (DBS) and paired sera, Scientific Reports, Vol: 13, ISSN: 2045-2322

The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was initially managed by non-pharmaceutical interventions such as diagnostic testing, isolation of positive cases, physical distancing and lockdowns. The advent of vaccines has provided crucial protection against SARS-CoV-2. Neutralising antibody (nAb) responses are a key correlate of protection, and therefore measuring nAb responses is essential for monitoring vaccine efficacy. Fingerstick dried blood spots (DBS) are ideal for use in large-scale sero-surveillance because they are inexpensive, offer the option of self-collection and can be transported and stored at ambient temperatures. Such advantages also make DBS appealing to use in resource-limited settings and in potential future pandemics. In this study, nAb responses in sera, venous blood and fingerstick blood stored on filter paper were measured. Samples were collected from SARS-CoV-2 acutely infected individuals, SARS-CoV-2 convalescent individuals and SARS-CoV-2 vaccinated individuals. Good agreement was observed between the nAb responses measured in eluted DBS and paired sera. Stability of nAb responses was also observed in sera stored on filter paper at room temperature for 28 days. Overall, this study provides support for the use of filter paper as a viable sample collection method to study nAb responses.

Journal article

Goldswain H, Dong X, Penrice-Randal R, Alruwaili M, Shawli GT, Prince T, Williamson MK, Raghwani J, Randle N, Jones B, Donovan-Banfield I, Salguero FJ, Tree JA, Hall Y, Hartley C, Erdmann M, Bazire J, Jearanaiwitayakul T, Semple MG, Openshaw PJM, Baillie JK, ISARIC4C Investigators, Emmett SR, Digard P, Matthews DA, Turtle L, Darby AC, Davidson AD, Carroll MW, Hiscox JAet al., 2023, The P323L substitution in the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase (NSP12) confers a selective advantage during infection, Genome Biology, Vol: 24, ISSN: 1474-7596

BACKGROUND: The mutational landscape of SARS-CoV-2 varies at the dominant viral genome sequence and minor genomic variant population. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an early substitution in the genome was the D614G change in the spike protein, associated with an increase in transmissibility. Genomes with D614G are accompanied by a P323L substitution in the viral polymerase (NSP12). However, P323L is not thought to be under strong selective pressure. RESULTS: Investigation of P323L/D614G substitutions in the population shows rapid emergence during the containment phase and early surge phase during the first wave. These substitutions emerge from minor genomic variants which become dominant viral genome sequence. This is investigated in vivo and in vitro using SARS-CoV-2 with P323 and D614 in the dominant genome sequence and L323 and G614 in the minor variant population. During infection, there is rapid selection of L323 into the dominant viral genome sequence but not G614. Reverse genetics is used to create two viruses (either P323 or L323) with the same genetic background. L323 shows greater abundance of viral RNA and proteins and a smaller plaque morphology than P323. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that P323L is an important contribution in the emergence of variants with transmission advantages. Sequence analysis of viral populations suggests it may be possible to predict the emergence of a new variant based on tracking the frequency of minor variant genomes. The ability to predict an emerging variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the global landscape may aid in the evaluation of medical countermeasures and non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Journal article

Stebbing J, Takis PG, Sands CJ, Maslen L, Lewis MR, Gleason K, Page K, Guttery D, Fernandez-Garcia D, Primrose L, Shaw JAet al., 2023, Comparison of phenomics and cfDNA in a large breast screening population: the Breast Screening and Monitoring Study (BSMS), Oncogene, Vol: 42, Pages: 825-832, ISSN: 0950-9232

To assess their roles in breast cancer diagnostics, we aimed to compare plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) levels with the circulating metabolome in a large breast screening cohort of women recalled for mammography, including healthy women and women with mammographically detected breast diseases, ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive breast cancer: the Breast Screening and Monitoring Study (BSMS). In 999 women, plasma was analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (UPLC-MS) and then processed to isolate and quantify total cfDNA. NMR and UPLC-MS results were compared with data for 186 healthy women derived from the AIRWAVE cohort. Results showed no significant differences between groups for all metabolites, whereas invasive cancers had significantly higher plasma cfDNA levels than all other groups. When stratified the supervised OPLS-DA analysis and total cfDNA concentration showed high discrimination accuracy between invasive cancers and the disease/medication-free subjects. Furthermore, comparison of OPLS-DA data for invasive breast cancers with the AIRWAVE cohort showed similar discrimination between breast cancers and healthy controls. This is the first report of agreement between metabolomics and plasma cfDNA levels for discriminating breast cancer from healthy subjects in a true screening population. It also emphasizes the importance of sample standardization. Follow on studies will involve analysis of candidate features in a larger validation series as well as comparing results with serial plasma samples taken at the next routine screening mammography appointment. The findings here help establish the role of plasma analysis in the diagnosis of breast cancer in a large real-world cohort.

Journal article

Lu H, George J, Eslam M, Villanueva A, Bolondi L, Reeves HL, McCain M, Chambers E, Ward C, Sartika D, Sands C, Maslen L, Lewis MR, Ramaswami R, Sharma Ret al., 2023, Discriminatory changes in circulating metabolites as a predictor of hepatocellular cancer in patients with MAFLD, Liver Cancer, Vol: 12, Pages: 19-31, ISSN: 2235-1795

Introduction: The burden of metabolic (dysfunction) associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is rising mirrored by an increase in hepatocellular cancer (HCC). MAFLD and its sequelae are characterized by perturbations in lipid handling, inflammation, and mitochondrial damage. The profile of circulating lipid and small molecule metabolites with the development of HCC is poorly characterized in MAFLD and could be used in future studies as a biomarker for HCC. Methods: We assessed the profile of 273 lipid and small molecule metabolites by ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry in serum from patients with MAFLD (n = 113) and MAFLD-associated HCC (n = 144) from six different centers. Regression models were used to identify a predictive model of HCC. Results: Twenty lipid species and one metabolite, reflecting changes in mitochondrial function and sphingolipid metabolism, were associated with the presence of cancer on a background of MAFLD with high accuracy (AUC 0.789, 95% CI: 0.721–0.858), which was enhanced with the addition of cirrhosis to the model (AUC 0.855, 95% CI: 0.793–0.917). In particular, the presence of these metabolites was associated with cirrhosis in the MAFLD subgroup (p < 0.001). When considering the HCC cohort alone, the metabolic signature was an independent predictor of overall survival (HR 1.42, 95% CI: 1.09–1.83, p < 0.01). Conclusion: These exploratory findings reveal a metabolic signature in serum which is capable of accurately detecting the presence of HCC on a background of MAFLD. This unique serum signature will be taken forward for further investigation of diagnostic performance as biomarker of early stage HCC in patients with MAFLD in the future.

Journal article

Liew F, Talwar S, Cross A, Willett B, Scott S, Logan N, Siggins M, Swieboda D, Sidhu J, Efstathiou C, Moore S, Davis C, Mohamed N, Nunag J, King C, Thompson AAR, Rowland-Jones S, Docherty A, Chalmers J, Ho L-P, Horsley A, Raman B, Poinasamy K, Marks M, Kon OM, Howard L, Wootton D, Dunachie S, Quint J, Evans R, Wain L, Fontanella S, de Silva T, Ho A, Harrison E, Baillie JK, Semple MG, Brightling C, Thwaites R, Turtle L, Openshaw Pet al., 2023, SARS-CoV-2-specific nasal IgA wanes 9 months after hospitalisation with COVID-19 and is not induced by subsequent vaccination, EBioMedicine, Vol: 87, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2352-3964

Background:Most studies of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 focus on circulating antibody, giving limited insights into mucosal defences that prevent viral replication and onward transmission. We studied nasal and plasma antibody responses one year after hospitalisation for COVID-19, including a period when SARS-CoV-2 vaccination was introduced.Methods:In this follow up study, plasma and nasosorption samples were prospectively collected from 446 adults hospitalised for COVID-19 between February 2020 and March 2021 via the ISARIC4C and PHOSP-COVID consortia. IgA and IgG responses to NP and S of ancestral SARS-CoV-2, Delta and Omicron (BA.1) variants were measured by electrochemiluminescence and compared with plasma neutralisation data.Findings:Strong and consistent nasal anti-NP and anti-S IgA responses were demonstrated, which remained elevated for nine months (p < 0.0001). Nasal and plasma anti-S IgG remained elevated for at least 12 months (p < 0.0001) with plasma neutralising titres that were raised against all variants compared to controls (p < 0.0001). Of 323 with complete data, 307 were vaccinated between 6 and 12 months; coinciding with rises in nasal and plasma IgA and IgG anti-S titres for all SARS-CoV-2 variants, although the change in nasal IgA was minimal (1.46-fold change after 10 months, p = 0.011) and the median remained below the positive threshold determined by pre-pandemic controls. Samples 12 months after admission showed no association between nasal IgA and plasma IgG anti-S responses (R = 0.05, p = 0.18), indicating that nasal IgA responses are distinct from those in plasma and minimally boosted by vaccination.Interpretation:The decline in nasal IgA responses 9 months after infection and minimal impact of subsequent vaccination may explain the lack of long-lasting nasal defence against reinfection and the limited effects of vaccination on transmission. These findings highlight the need to develop vaccines that enhance nasal immunity.Funding:This

Journal article

Vink E, Davis C, MacLean A, Pascall D, McDonald SE, Gunson R, Hardwick HE, Oosthuyzen W, Openshaw PJM, Baillie JK, Semple MG, Ho Aet al., 2022, Viral coinfections in hospitalized Coronavirus disease 2019 patients recruited to the international severe acute respiratory and emerging infections consortium WHO clinical characterisation protocol UK study, Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2328-8957

BackgroundWe conducted this study to assess the prevalence of viral coinfection in a well characterized cohort of hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and to investigate the impact of coinfection on disease severity.MethodsMultiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction testing for endemic respiratory viruses was performed on upper respiratory tract samples from 1002 patients with COVID-19, aged <1 year to 102 years old, recruited to the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK study. Comprehensive demographic, clinical, and outcome data were collected prospectively up to 28 days post discharge.ResultsA coinfecting virus was detected in 20 (2.0%) participants. Multivariable analysis revealed no significant risk factors for coinfection, although this may be due to rarity of coinfection. Likewise, ordinal logistic regression analysis did not demonstrate a significant association between coinfection and increased disease severity.ConclusionsViral coinfection was rare among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the United Kingdom during the first 18 months of the pandemic. With unbiased prospective sampling, we found no evidence of an association between viral coinfection and disease severity. Public health interventions disrupted normal seasonal transmission of respiratory viruses; relaxation of these measures mean it will be important to monitor the prevalence and impact of respiratory viral coinfections going forward.

Journal article

Närhi F, Moonesinghe SR, Shenkin SD, Drake TM, Mulholland RH, Donegan C, Dunning J, Fairfield CJ, Girvan M, Hardwick HE, Ho A, Leeming G, Nguyen-Van-Tam JS, Pius R, Russell CD, Shaw CA, Spencer RG, Turtle L, Openshaw PJM, Baillie JK, Harrison EM, Semple MG, Docherty AB, ISARIC4C investigatorset al., 2022, Implementation of corticosteroids in treatment of COVID-19 in the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK: prospective, cohort study., The Lancet Digital Health, Vol: 4, Pages: e220-e234, ISSN: 2589-7500

BACKGROUND: Dexamethasone was the first intervention proven to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 being treated in hospital. We aimed to evaluate the adoption of corticosteroids in the treatment of COVID-19 in the UK after the RECOVERY trial publication on June 16, 2020, and to identify discrepancies in care. METHODS: We did an audit of clinical implementation of corticosteroids in a prospective, observational, cohort study in 237 UK acute care hospitals between March 16, 2020, and April 14, 2021, restricted to patients aged 18 years or older with proven or high likelihood of COVID-19, who received supplementary oxygen. The primary outcome was administration of dexamethasone, prednisolone, hydrocortisone, or methylprednisolone. This study is registered with ISRCTN, ISRCTN66726260. FINDINGS: Between June 17, 2020, and April 14, 2021, 47 795 (75·2%) of 63 525 of patients on supplementary oxygen received corticosteroids, higher among patients requiring critical care than in those who received ward care (11 185 [86·6%] of 12 909 vs 36 415 [72·4%] of 50 278). Patients 50 years or older were significantly less likely to receive corticosteroids than those younger than 50 years (adjusted odds ratio 0·79 [95% CI 0·70-0·89], p=0·0001, for 70-79 years; 0·52 [0·46-0·58], p<0·0001, for >80 years), independent of patient demographics and illness severity. 84 (54·2%) of 155 pregnant women received corticosteroids. Rates of corticosteroid administration increased from 27·5% in the week before June 16, 2020, to 75-80% in January, 2021. INTERPRETATION: Implementation of corticosteroids into clinical practice in the UK for patients with COVID-19 has been successful, but not universal. Patients older than 70 years, independent of illness severity, chronic neurological disease, and dementia, were less likely to receive corticosteroids than those who were younger, as were pregnant wom

Journal article

Drake TM, Riad AM, Fairfield CJ, Egan C, Knight SR, Pius R, Hardwick HE, Norman L, Shaw CA, McLean KA, Thompson AAR, Ho A, Swann OV, Sullivan M, Soares F, Holden KA, Merson L, Plotkin D, Sigfrid L, de Silva TI, Girvan M, Jackson C, Russell CD, Dunning J, Solomon T, Carson G, Olliaro P, Nguyen-Van-Tam JS, Turtle L, Docherty AB, Openshaw PJ, Baillie JK, Harrison EM, Semple MG, ISARIC4C investigatorset al., 2021, Characterisation of in-hospital complications associated with COVID-19 using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK: a prospective, multicentre cohort study, The Lancet, Vol: 398, Pages: 223-237, ISSN: 0140-6736

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is a multisystem disease and patients who survive might have in-hospital complications. These complications are likely to have important short-term and long-term consequences for patients, health-care utilisation, health-care system preparedness, and society amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim was to characterise the extent and effect of COVID-19 complications, particularly in those who survive, using the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK. METHODS: We did a prospective, multicentre cohort study in 302 UK health-care facilities. Adult patients aged 19 years or older, with confirmed or highly suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection leading to COVID-19 were included in the study. The primary outcome of this study was the incidence of in-hospital complications, defined as organ-specific diagnoses occurring alone or in addition to any hallmarks of COVID-19 illness. We used multilevel logistic regression and survival models to explore associations between these outcomes and in-hospital complications, age, and pre-existing comorbidities. FINDINGS: Between Jan 17 and Aug 4, 2020, 80 388 patients were included in the study. Of the patients admitted to hospital for management of COVID-19, 49·7% (36 367 of 73 197) had at least one complication. The mean age of our cohort was 71·1 years (SD 18·7), with 56·0% (41 025 of 73 197) being male and 81·0% (59 289 of 73 197) having at least one comorbidity. Males and those aged older than 60 years were most likely to have a complication (aged ≥60 years: 54·5% [16 579 of 30 416] in males and 48·2% [11 707 of 24 288] in females; aged <60 years: 48·8% [5179 of 10 609] in males and 36·6% [2814 of 7689] in females). Renal (24·3%, 17 752 of 73 197), complex respiratory (18·4%, 13 486 of 73 197), and systemic (16·3%, 11 895 of 73 197) complications were

Journal article

COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative, 2021, Mapping the human genetic architecture of COVID-19, Nature, Vol: 600, Pages: 472-477, ISSN: 0028-0836

The genetic make-up of an individual contributes to the susceptibility and response to viral infection. Although environmental, clinical and social factors have a role in the chance of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and the severity of COVID-191,2, host genetics may also be important. Identifying host-specific genetic factors may reveal biological mechanisms of therapeutic relevance and clarify causal relationships of modifiable environmental risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection and outcomes. We formed a global network of researchers to investigate the role of human genetics in SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity. Here we describe the results of three genome-wide association meta-analyses that consist of up to 49,562 patients with COVID-19 from 46 studies across 19 countries. We report 13 genome-wide significant loci that are associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection or severe manifestations of COVID-19. Several of these loci correspond to previously documented associations to lung or autoimmune and inflammatory diseases3-7. They also represent potentially actionable mechanisms in response to infection. Mendelian randomization analyses support a causal role for smoking and body-mass index for severe COVID-19 although not for type II diabetes. The identification of novel host genetic factors associated with COVID-19 was made possible by the community of human genetics researchers coming together to prioritize the sharing of data, results, resources and analytical frameworks. This working model of international collaboration underscores what is possible for future genetic discoveries in emerging pandemics, or indeed for any complex human disease.

Journal article

Sharma R, Lu H, George J, Eslam M, Villanueva A, Ward C, Reeves HL, McCain M, Chambers E, Sands C, Maslen L, Lewis M, Ramaswami Ret al., 2021, Discriminatory changes in circulating lipid and small molecule metabolites in patients with MAFLD associated hepatocellular cancer, Publisher: ELSEVIER, Pages: S490-S490, ISSN: 0168-8278

Conference paper

Trousil S, Lee P, Edwards RJ, Maslen L, Lozan-Kuehne JP, Ramaswami R, Aboagye EO, Clarke S, Liddle C, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Altered cytochrome 2E1 and 3A P450-dependent drug metabolism in advanced ovarian cancer correlates to tumour-associated inflammation, British Journal of Pharmacology, Vol: 176, Pages: 3712-3722, ISSN: 0007-1188

Background and PurposePrevious work has focussed on changes in drug metabolism caused by altered activity of CYP3A in the presence of inflammation and, in particular, inflammation associated with malignancy. However, drug metabolism involves a number of other P450s, and therefore, we assessed the effect of cancer‐related inflammation on multiple CYP enzymes using a validated drug cocktail.Experimental ApproachPatients with advanced stage ovarian cancer and healthy volunteers were recruited. Participants received caffeine, chlorzoxazone, dextromethorphan, and omeprazole as in vivo probes for CYP1A2, CYP2E1, CYP2D6, CYP3A, and CYP2C19. Blood was collected for serum C‐reactive protein and cytokine analysis.Key ResultsCYP2E1 activity was markedly up‐regulated in cancer (6‐hydroxychlorzoxazone/chlorzoxazone ratio of 1.30 vs. 2.75), while CYP3A phenotypic activity was repressed in cancer (omeprazole sulfone/omeprazole ratio of 0.23 vs. 0.49). Increased activity of CYP2E1 was associated with raised serum levels of IL‐6, IL‐8, and TNF‐α. Repression of CYP3A correlated with raised levels of serum C‐reactive protein, IL‐6, IL‐8, and TNF‐α.Conclusions and ImplicationsCYP enzyme activity is differentially affected by the presence of tumour‐associated inflammation, affecting particularly CYP2E1‐ and CYP3A‐mediated drug metabolism, and may have profound implications for drug development and prescribing in oncological settings.

Journal article

Bonner FW, Maslen L, Lindon JC, Lewis MR, Nicholson JKet al., 2019, Conception, Implementation and Operation of Large-Scale Metabolic Phenotyping Centres: Phenome Centres, HANDBOOK OF METABOLIC PHENOTYPING, Editors: Lindon, Nicholson, Holmes, Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, Pages: 385-405, ISBN: 978-0-12-812293-8

Book chapter

Pinato DJ, Pirisi M, Maslen L, Sharma Ret al., 2014, Tissue Biomarkers of Prognostic Significance in Hepatocellular Carcinoma, ADVANCES IN ANATOMIC PATHOLOGY, Vol: 21, Pages: 270-284, ISSN: 1072-4109

Journal article

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