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1.
Virulence ; 13(1): 1031-1048, 2022 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900978

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant loss of human lives and a worldwide decline in quality of life. Treatment of COVID-19 patients is challenging, and specific treatments to reduce COVID-19 aggravation and mortality are still necessary. Here, we describe the discovery of a novel class of epiandrosterone steroidal compounds with cationic amphiphilic properties that present antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in the low micromolar range. Compounds were identified in screening campaigns using a cytopathic effect-based assay in Vero CCL81 cells, followed by hit compound validation and characterization. Compounds LNB167 and LNB169 were selected due to their ability to reduce the levels of infectious viral progeny and viral RNA levels in Vero CCL81, HEK293, and HuH7.5 cell lines. Mechanistic studies in Vero CCL81 cells indicated that LNB167 and LNB169 inhibited the initial phase of viral replication through mechanisms involving modulation of membrane lipids and cholesterol in host cells. Selection of viral variants resistant to steroidal compound treatment revealed single mutations on transmembrane, lipid membrane-interacting Spike and Envelope proteins. Finally, in vivo testing using the hACE2 transgenic mouse model indicated that SARS-CoV-2 infection could not be ameliorated by LNB167 treatment. We conclude that anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of steroidal compounds LNB167 and LNB169 are likely host-targeted, consistent with the properties of cationic amphiphilic compounds that modulate host cell lipid biology. Although effective in vitro, protective effects were cell-type specific and did not translate to protection in vivo, indicating that subversion of lipid membrane physiology is an important, yet complex mechanism involved in SARS-CoV-2 replication and pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lipids , Mice , Pandemics , Quality of Life , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308653

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 can result in severe lung injury. It remained to be determined why diabetic individuals with uncontrolled glucose levels are more prone to develop the severe form of COVID-19. The molecular mechanism underlying SARS-CoV-2 infection and what determines the onset of the cytokine storm found in severe COVID-19 patients are unknown. Monocytes/macrophages are the most enriched immune cell types in the lungs of COVID-19 patients and appear to have a central role in the pathogenicity of the disease. These cells adapt their metabolism upon infection and become highly glycolytic, which facilitates SARS-CoV-2 replication. The infection triggers mitochondrial ROS production, which induces stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor- 1α (HIF - 1α) and consequently promotes glycolysis. HIF- 1α-induced changes in monocyte metabolism by SARS-CoV-2 infection directly inhibit T cell response and reduce epithelial cell survival. Targeting HIF-1 ɑ may have great therapeutic potential for the development of novel drugs to treat COVID-19.

3.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6844, 2021 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537310

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 manifests as a milder disease in children than adults, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully characterized. Here we assess the difference in cellular or humoral immune responses of pediatric and adult COVID-19 patients to see if these factors contribute to the severity dichotomy. Children's non-specific immune profile is dominated by naive lymphocytes and HLA-DRhighCX3CR1low dendritic cells; meanwhile, children show strong specific antibody and T cell responses for viral structural proteins, with their T cell responses differing from adults by having weaker CD8+TNF+ T cells responses to S peptide pool but stronger responses to N and M peptide pools. Finally, viral mRNA is more abundant in pediatric patients. Our data thus support a scenario in which SARS-CoV-2 infected children contribute to transmission yet are less susceptible to COVID-19 symptoms due to strong and differential responses to the virus.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Brazil , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Child, Preschool , Cytokines/blood , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Messenger , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes , Viral Structural Proteins/immunology , Young Adult
4.
Clin Transl Immunology ; 10(4): e1271, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525427

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Emerging evidence of dysregulation of the myeloid cell compartment urges investigations on neutrophil characteristics in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We isolated neutrophils from the blood of COVID-19 patients receiving general ward care and from patients hospitalised at intensive care units (ICUs) to explore the kinetics of circulating neutrophils and factors important for neutrophil migration and activation. METHODS: Multicolour flow cytometry was exploited for the analysis of neutrophil differentiation and activation markers. Multiplex and ELISA technologies were used for the quantification of protease, protease inhibitor, chemokine and cytokine concentrations in plasma. Neutrophil polarisation responses were evaluated microscopically. Gelatinolytic and metalloproteinase activity in plasma was determined using a fluorogenic substrate. Co-culturing healthy donor neutrophils with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) allowed us to investigate viral replication in neutrophils. RESULTS: Upon ICU admission, patients displayed high plasma concentrations of granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and the chemokine CXCL8, accompanied by emergency myelopoiesis as illustrated by high levels of circulating CD10-, immature neutrophils with reduced CXCR2 and C5aR expression. Neutrophil elastase and non-metalloproteinase-derived gelatinolytic activity were increased in plasma from ICU patients. Significantly higher levels of circulating tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1) in patients at ICU admission yielded decreased total MMP proteolytic activity in blood. COVID-19 neutrophils were hyper-responsive to CXCL8 and CXCL12 in shape change assays. Finally, SARS-CoV-2 failed to replicate inside human neutrophils. CONCLUSION: Our study provides detailed insights into the kinetics of neutrophil phenotype and function in severe COVID-19 patients, and supports the concept of an increased neutrophil activation state in the circulation.

7.
Cell Metab ; 32(3): 437-446.e5, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-670096

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 can result in severe lung injury. It remained to be determined why diabetic individuals with uncontrolled glucose levels are more prone to develop the severe form of COVID-19. The molecular mechanism underlying SARS-CoV-2 infection and what determines the onset of the cytokine storm found in severe COVID-19 patients are unknown. Monocytes and macrophages are the most enriched immune cell types in the lungs of COVID-19 patients and appear to have a central role in the pathogenicity of the disease. These cells adapt their metabolism upon infection and become highly glycolytic, which facilitates SARS-CoV-2 replication. The infection triggers mitochondrial ROS production, which induces stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and consequently promotes glycolysis. HIF-1α-induced changes in monocyte metabolism by SARS-CoV-2 infection directly inhibit T cell response and reduce epithelial cell survival. Targeting HIF-1ɑ may have great therapeutic potential for the development of novel drugs to treat COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Blood Glucose/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Diabetes Complications/complications , Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit/metabolism , Monocytes/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Adult , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Diabetes Complications/metabolism , Diabetes Mellitus/metabolism , Female , Glycolysis , Humans , Inflammation/complications , Inflammation/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Monocytes/virology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction
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