Dr. Chen, Shih-Yu 's publons link picture


  • 2652-3589 (Lab) (Room No: N621)
  • 2652-3994 (Office)

  • Single cell analysis

Education and Positions:
  • M.D. National Taiwan University

    Ph.D. University of California, Davis

    Research Scientist. Stanford University

Highlight Detail

Immunometabolic features of natural killer cells are associated with infection outcomes in critical illness

Dr. Chen, Shih-Yu
Frontiers in Immunology, Feb 15, 2024

Immunosuppression increases the risk of nosocomial infection in patients with chronic critical illness. This exploratory study aimed to determine the immunometabolic signature associated with nosocomial infection during chronic critical illness. We prospectively recruited patients who were admitted to the respiratory care center and who had received mechanical ventilator support for more than 10 days in the intensive care unit. The study subjects were followed for the occurrence of nosocomial infection until 6 weeks after admission, hospital discharge, or death. The cytokine levels in the plasma samples were measured. Single-cell immunometabolic regulome profiling by mass cytometry, which analyzed 16 metabolic regulators in 21 immune subsets, was performed to identify immunometabolic features associated with the risk of nosocomial infection. During the study period, 37 patients were enrolled, and 16 patients (43.2%) developed nosocomial infection. Unsupervised immunologic clustering using multidimensional scaling and logistic regression analyses revealed that expression of nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF1) and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1a (CPT1a), key regulators of mitochondrial biogenesis and fatty acid transport, respectively, in natural killer (NK) cells was significantly associated with nosocomial infection. Downregulated NRF1 and upregulated CPT1a were found in all subsets of NK cells from patients who developed a nosocomial infection. The risk of nosocomial infection is significantly correlated with the predictive score developed by selecting NK cell-specific features using an elastic net algorithm. Findings were further examined in an independent cohort of COVID-19-infected patients, and the results confirm that COVID-19-related mortality is significantly associated with mitochondria biogenesis and fatty acid oxidation pathways in NK cells. In conclusion, this study uncovers that NK cell-specific immunometabolic features are significantly associated with the occurrence and fatal outcomes of infection in critically ill population, and provides mechanistic insights into NK cell-specific immunity against microbial invasion in critical illness.