A road map from single-cell transcriptome to patient classification for the immune response to trauma

Tianmeng Chen, Matthew J. Delano, Kong Chen, Jason L. Sperry, Rami A. Namas, Ashley J. Lamparello, Meihong Deng, Julia Conroy, Lyle L. Moldawer, Philip A. Efron, Patricia Loughran, Christopher Seymour, Derek C. Angus, Yoram Vodovotz, Wei Chen*, Timothy R. Billiar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Immune dysfunction is an important factor driving mortality and adverse outcomes after trauma but remains poorly understood, especially at the cellular level. To deconvolute the trauma-induced immune response, we applied single-cell RNA sequencing to circulating and bone marrow mononuclear cells in injured mice and circulating mononuclear cells in trauma patients. In mice, the greatest changes in gene expression were seen in monocytes across both compartments. After systemic injury, the gene expression pattern of monocytes markedly deviated from steady state with corresponding changes in critical transcription factors, which can be traced back to myeloid progenitors. These changes were largely recapitulated in the human single-cell analysis. We generalized the major changes in human CD14+ monocytes into 6 signatures, which further defined 2 trauma patient subtypes (SG1 vs. SG2) identified in the whole-blood leukocyte transcriptome in the initial 12 hours after injury. Compared with SG2, SG1 patients exhibited delayed recovery, more severe organ dysfunction, and a higher incidence of infection and noninfectious complications. The 2 patient subtypes were also recapitulated in burn and sepsis patients, revealing a shared pattern of immune response across critical illness. Our data will be broadly useful to further explore the immune response to inflammatory diseases and critical illness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere145108
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number2
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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