Complex changes in serum protein levels in COVID-19 convalescents

Smruti Pushalkar, Shaohuan Wu, Shuvadeep Maity, Matthew Pressler, Justin Rendleman, Burcu Vitrinel, Lauren Jeffery, Ryah Abdelhadi, Mechi Chen, Ted Ross, Michael Carlock, Hyungwon Choi, Christine Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic, triggered by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, has affected millions of people worldwide. Much research has been dedicated to our understanding of COVID-19 disease heterogeneity and severity, but less is known about recovery associated changes. To address this gap in knowledge, we quantified the proteome from serum samples from 29 COVID-19 convalescents and 29 age-, race-, and sex-matched healthy controls. Samples were acquired within the first months of the pandemic. Many proteins from pathways known to change during acute COVID-19 illness, such as from the complement cascade, coagulation system, inflammation and adaptive immune system, had returned to levels seen in healthy controls. In comparison, we identified 22 and 15 proteins with significantly elevated and lowered levels, respectively, amongst COVID-19 convalescents compared to healthy controls. Some of the changes were similar to those observed for the acute phase of the disease, i.e. elevated levels of proteins from hemolysis, the adaptive immune systems, and inflammation. In contrast, some alterations opposed those in the acute phase, e.g. elevated levels of CETP and APOA1 which function in lipid/cholesterol metabolism, and decreased levels of proteins from the complement cascade (e.g. C1R, C1S, and VWF), the coagulation system (e.g. THBS1 and VWF), and the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton (e.g. PFN1 and CFL1) amongst COVID-19 convalescents. We speculate that some of these shifts might originate from a transient decrease in platelet counts upon recovery from the disease. Finally, we observed race-specific changes, e.g. with respect to immunoglobulins and proteins related to cholesterol metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4479
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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