Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic leads to severe illness, life-threatening complications, and death, especially in high-risk groups such as elderly people and individuals with hypertension or diabetes. It has been shown that SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity is important for the patient recovery from COVID-19. However, there are no reports about SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity in hypertensive patients with COVID-19.
Results: In this work, through the study of a cohort of 76 mild cases of hypertensive patients with COVID-19 and 572 hypertensive patients without COVID-19, we discovered that SARS-CoV-2 infection in hypertensive patients is characterized by T lymphopenia during the acute phase and the high frequency of CD4+CD25+, CD4+CD45RO+, and CD8+CD28+ T cells in the recovery phase. We also showed that strong SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+IFNg+ T cell responses are associated with high SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody titers in hypertensive patients with COVID-19.
Conclusions: The subsets of T cells including CD4+CD25+, CD4+CD45RO+, and CD8+CD28+ could be valuable biomarkers for the estimation of the progression of hypertensive patients with COVID-19. The hypertensive patients with COVID-19 exhibits T lymphopenia during the acute phase and have proper immune function during the recovery phase. This study may provide valuable insights for the monitoring and treatment of hypertensive patients with COVID-19.