The retrospective study of the metabolic patterns of BCG-vaccination in type-2 diabetic individuals in COVID-19 infection

Najeha R. Anwardeen, Farhan S. Cyprian, Hadi M. Yassine, Asmaa A. Al-Thani, Abdallah M. Abdallah, Mohamed M. Emara, Mohamed A. Elrayess*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The cross-protective nature of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 virus was previously suggested, however its effect in COVID-19 patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and the underlying metabolic pathways has not been addressed. This study aims to investigate the difference in the metabolomic patterns of type 2 diabetic patients with BCG vaccination showing different severity levels of COVID-19 infection. Methods: Sixty-seven COVID-19 patients were categorized into diabetic and non-diabetic individuals who had been previously vaccinated or not with BCG vaccination. Targeted metabolomics were performed from serum samples from all patients using tandem mass spectrometry. Statistical analysis included multivariate and univariate models. Results: Data suggested that while BCG vaccination may provide protection for individuals who do not have diabetes, it appears to be linked to more severe COVID-19 symptoms in T2D patients (p = 0.02). Comparing the metabolic signature of BCG vaccinated T2D individuals to non-vaccinated counterparts revealed that amino acid (sarcosine), cholesterol esters (CE 20:0, 20:1, 22:2), carboxylic acid (Aconitic acid) were enriched in BCG vaccinated T2D patients, whereas spermidine, glycosylceramides (Hex3Cer(d18:1_22:0), Hex2Cer(d18:1/22:0), HexCer(d18:1/26:1), Hex2Cer(d18:1/24:0), HexCer(d18:1/22:0) were higher in BCG vaccinated non- T2D patients. Furthermore, data indicated a decrease in sarcosine synthesis from glycine and choline and increase in spermidine synthesis in the BCG vaccinated cohort in T2D and non-T2D groups, respectively. Conclusion: This pilot study suggests increased severity of COVID-19 in BCG vaccinated T2D patients, which was marked by decreased sarcosine synthesis, perhaps via lower sarcosine-mediated removal of viral antigens.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1146443
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

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