The following is a summary of “Circulating Dickkopf1 Parallels Metabolic Adaptations and Predicts Disease Trajectories in Patients With COVID-19,” published in the December 2022 issue of Endocrinology & Metabolism by Jaschke, et al.

The course of Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) varied greatly across individuals and ranged from asymptomatic symptoms to deadly results, the latter of which may be exacerbated by the host’s immunometabolic maladaptation. It was still difficult to accurately identify people at high risk for developing serious illnesses. For a study, researchers put out the hypothesis that in people infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), serum concentrations of Dickkopf1 (DKK1) were a good predictor of illness outcomes.

They selected 80 patients for whom blood samples from 2 different time periods were available who were hospitalized and had PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. ELISA was used to determine the levels of DKK1 serum in matched samples. Clinical information was taken from patient records and linked with DKK1 concentrations. On SARS-CoV-2 infection, publicly accessible datasets were checked for changes in cellular DKK1 expression. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to profile plasma metabolites objectively, and the results were connected with DKK1 information. To look into the prognostic value of DKK1 levels in the context of COVID-19, Kaplan-Meier & Cox regression analysis was employed.

In patients with COVID-19, blood levels of DKK1 were found to be predictive of illness outcomes. During SARS-CoV-2 infection, circulating DKK1 concentrations, associated with platelet counts, were characterized by substantial interindividual variability & fluctuate as a function of time. They also discovered that circulating DKK1 levels and the metabolic profile linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection mimicked fasting metabolism. Low DKK1 levels increased the risk of COVID-19 death by double compared to high levels, and DKK1 predicted death independently of inflammatory markers, renal function, and platelet counts.

The research raised the possibility that circulating DKK1 may be used clinically to forecast illness outcomes in COVID-19 patients. More cohorts must be used to confirm the findings.