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1.
Sci Adv ; 8(37): eabo5400, 2022 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2029457

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 in most cases, but some patients develop an excessive inflammatory process that can be fatal. As the NLRP3 inflammasome and additional inflammasomes are implicated in disease aggravation, drug repositioning to target inflammasomes emerges as a strategy to treat COVID-19. Here, we performed a high-throughput screening using a 2560 small-molecule compound library and identified FDA-approved drugs that function as pan-inflammasome inhibitors. Our best hit, niclosamide (NIC), effectively inhibits both inflammasome activation and SARS-CoV-2 replication. Mechanistically, induction of autophagy by NIC partially accounts for inhibition of NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes, but NIC-mediated inhibition of NAIP/NLRC4 inflammasome are autophagy independent. NIC potently inhibited inflammasome activation in human monocytes infected in vitro, in PBMCs from patients with COVID-19, and in vivo in a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study provides relevant information regarding the immunomodulatory functions of this promising drug for COVID-19 treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Inflammasomes , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Immunomodulating Agents , Mice , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein , SARS-CoV-2
2.
ACS omega ; 7(36):31935-31944, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2012338

ABSTRACT

The portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 small molecule drugs is currently limited to a handful that are either approved (remdesivir), emergency approved (dexamethasone, baricitinib, paxlovid, and molnupiravir), or in advanced clinical trials. Vandetanib is a kinase inhibitor which targets the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR), the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), as well as the RET-tyrosine kinase. In the current study, it was tested in different cell lines and showed promising results on inhibition versus the toxic effect on A549-hACE2 cells (IC50 0.79 μM) while also showing a reduction of >3 log TCID50/mL for HCoV-229E. The in vivo efficacy of vandetanib was assessed in a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and statistically significantly reduced the levels of IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α and mitigated inflammatory cell infiltrates in the lungs of infected animals but did not reduce viral load. Vandetanib also decreased CCL2, CCL3, and CCL4 compared to the infected animals. Vandetanib additionally rescued the decreased IFN-1β caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice to levels similar to that in uninfected animals. Our results indicate that the FDA-approved anticancer drug vandetanib is worthy of further assessment as a potential therapeutic candidate to block the COVID-19 cytokine storm.

3.
Elife ; 112022 06 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1934562

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a disease of dysfunctional immune responses, but the mechanisms triggering immunopathogenesis are not established. The functional plasticity of macrophages allows this cell type to promote pathogen elimination and inflammation or suppress inflammation and promote tissue remodeling and injury repair. During an infection, the clearance of dead and dying cells, a process named efferocytosis, can modulate the interplay between these contrasting functions. Here, we show that engulfment of SARS-CoV-2-infected apoptotic cells exacerbates inflammatory cytokine production, inhibits the expression of efferocytic receptors, and impairs continual efferocytosis by macrophages. We also provide evidence supporting that lung monocytes and macrophages from severe COVID-19 patients have compromised efferocytic capacity. Our findings reveal that dysfunctional efferocytosis of SARS-CoV-2-infected cell corpses suppresses macrophage anti-inflammation and efficient tissue repair programs and provides mechanistic insights for the excessive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and accumulation of tissue damage associated with COVID-19 immunopathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Apoptosis , Humans , Macrophages/metabolism , Phagocytosis
4.
ACS Infect Dis ; 8(6): 1147-1160, 2022 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1860283

ABSTRACT

There are currently relatively few small-molecule antiviral drugs that are either approved or emergency-approved for use against severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). One of these is remdesivir, which was originally repurposed from its use against Ebola. We evaluated three molecules we had previously identified computationally with antiviral activity against Ebola and Marburg and identified pyronaridine, which inhibited the SARS-CoV-2 replication in A549-ACE2 cells. The in vivo efficacy of pyronaridine has now been assessed in a K18-hACE transgenic mouse model of COVID-19. Pyronaridine treatment demonstrated a statistically significant reduction of viral load in the lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected mice, reducing lung pathology, which was also associated with significant reduction in the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokine and cell infiltration. Pyronaridine inhibited the viral PLpro activity in vitro (IC50 of 1.8 µM) without any effect on Mpro, indicating a possible molecular mechanism involved in its ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication. We have also generated several pyronaridine analogs to assist in understanding the structure activity relationship for PLpro inhibition. Our results indicate that pyronaridine is a potential therapeutic candidate for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/drug therapy , Mice , Naphthyridines , SARS-CoV-2
5.
J Mol Cell Biol ; 14(4)2022 08 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1806451

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with a hyperinflammatory state and lymphocytopenia, a hallmark that appears as both signature and prognosis of disease severity outcome. Although cytokine storm and a sustained inflammatory state are commonly associated with immune cell depletion, it is still unclear whether direct SARS-CoV-2 infection of immune cells could also play a role in this scenario by harboring viral replication. We found that monocytes, as well as both B and T lymphocytes, were susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro, accumulating double-stranded RNA consistent with viral RNA replication and ultimately leading to expressive T cell apoptosis. In addition, flow cytometry and immunofluorescence analysis revealed that SARS-CoV-2 was frequently detected in monocytes and B lymphocytes from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. The rates of SARS-CoV-2-infected monocytes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from COVID-19 patients increased over time from symptom onset, with SARS-CoV-2-positive monocytes, B cells, and CD4+ T lymphocytes also detected in postmortem lung tissue. These results indicated that SARS-CoV-2 infection of blood-circulating leukocytes in COVID-19 patients might have important implications for disease pathogenesis and progression, immune dysfunction, and virus spread within the host.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear , Monocytes
7.
Blood ; 138(25): 2702-2713, 2021 12 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1365304

ABSTRACT

Multiple organ dysfunction is the most severe outcome of sepsis progression and is highly correlated with a worse prognosis. Excessive neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are critical players in the development of organ failure during sepsis. Therefore, interventions targeting NET release would likely effectively prevent NET-based organ injury associated with this disease. Herein, we demonstrate that the pore-forming protein gasdermin D (GSDMD) is active in neutrophils from septic humans and mice and plays a crucial role in NET release. Inhibition of GSDMD with disulfiram or genic deletion abrogated NET formation, reducing multiple organ dysfunction and sepsis lethality. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that during sepsis, activation of the caspase-11/GSDMD pathway controls NET release by neutrophils during sepsis. In summary, our findings uncover a novel therapeutic use for disulfiram and suggest that GSDMD is a therapeutic target to improve sepsis treatment.


Subject(s)
Extracellular Traps/genetics , Gene Deletion , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/genetics , Multiple Organ Failure/genetics , Phosphate-Binding Proteins/genetics , Sepsis/genetics , Acetaldehyde Dehydrogenase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Adoptive Transfer , Aged , Animals , Cells, Cultured , Disulfiram/therapeutic use , Female , Humans , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Middle Aged , Multiple Organ Failure/pathology , Multiple Organ Failure/therapy , Phosphate-Binding Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Sepsis/pathology , Sepsis/therapy
8.
J Exp Med ; 218(3)2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-968998

ABSTRACT

Severe cases of COVID-19 are characterized by a strong inflammatory process that may ultimately lead to organ failure and patient death. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a molecular platform that promotes inflammation via cleavage and activation of key inflammatory molecules including active caspase-1 (Casp1p20), IL-1ß, and IL-18. Although participation of the inflammasome in COVID-19 has been highly speculated, the inflammasome activation and participation in the outcome of the disease are unknown. Here we demonstrate that the NLRP3 inflammasome is activated in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and is active in COVID-19 patients. Studying moderate and severe COVID-19 patients, we found active NLRP3 inflammasome in PBMCs and tissues of postmortem patients upon autopsy. Inflammasome-derived products such as Casp1p20 and IL-18 in the sera correlated with the markers of COVID-19 severity, including IL-6 and LDH. Moreover, higher levels of IL-18 and Casp1p20 are associated with disease severity and poor clinical outcome. Our results suggest that inflammasomes participate in the pathophysiology of the disease, indicating that these platforms might be a marker of disease severity and a potential therapeutic target for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Inflammasomes/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severity of Illness Index , Apoptosis , Comorbidity , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Humans , Lung/pathology , Monocytes/metabolism , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/metabolism , Postmortem Changes , Treatment Outcome
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