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1.
Mol Med ; 28(1): 57, 2022 05 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846786

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe COVID-19 is characterized by pro-inflammatory cytokine release syndrome (cytokine storm) which causes high morbidity and mortality. Recent observational and clinical studies suggest famotidine, a histamine 2 receptor (H2R) antagonist widely used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, attenuates the clinical course of COVID-19. Because evidence is lacking for a direct antiviral activity of famotidine, a proposed mechanism of action is blocking the effects of histamine released by mast cells. Here we hypothesized that famotidine activates the inflammatory reflex, a brain-integrated vagus nerve mechanism which inhibits inflammation via alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) signal transduction, to prevent cytokine storm. METHODS: The potential anti-inflammatory effects of famotidine and other H2R antagonists were assessed in mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cytokine storm. As the inflammatory reflex is integrated and can be stimulated in the brain, and H2R antagonists penetrate the blood brain barrier poorly, famotidine was administered by intracerebroventricular (ICV) or intraperitoneal (IP) routes. RESULTS: Famotidine administered IP significantly reduced serum and splenic LPS-stimulated tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and IL-6 concentrations, significantly improving survival. The effects of ICV famotidine were significantly more potent as compared to the peripheral route. Mice lacking mast cells by genetic deletion also responded to famotidine, indicating the anti-inflammatory effects are not mast cell-dependent. Either bilateral sub-diaphragmatic vagotomy or genetic knock-out of α7nAChR abolished the anti-inflammatory effects of famotidine, indicating the inflammatory reflex as famotidine's mechanism of action. While the structurally similar H2R antagonist tiotidine displayed equivalent anti-inflammatory activity, the H2R antagonists cimetidine or ranitidine were ineffective even at very high dosages. CONCLUSIONS: These observations reveal a previously unidentified vagus nerve-dependent anti-inflammatory effect of famotidine in the setting of cytokine storm which is not replicated by high dosages of other H2R antagonists in clinical use. Because famotidine is more potent when administered intrathecally, these findings are also consistent with a primarily central nervous system mechanism of action.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Famotidine , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Famotidine/pharmacology , Histamine , Histamine H2 Antagonists , Lipopolysaccharides , Mice , Reflex , Vagus Nerve , alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor
2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-333131

ABSTRACT

Background: Severe COVID-19 is characterized by pro-inflammatory cytokine release syndrome (cytokine storm) which causes high morbidity and mortality. Recent observational and clinical studies suggest famotidine, a histamine 2 receptor (H2R) antagonist widely used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease , attenuates the clinical course of COVID-19. Because evidence is lacking for a direct antiviral activity of famotidine, a proposed mechanism of action is blocking the effects of histamine released by mast cells. Here we hypothesized that famotidine activates the inflammatory reflex, a brain-integrated vagus nerve mechanism which inhibits inflammation via alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ( α7nAChR ) signal transduction, to prevent cytokine storm. Methods: . The potential anti-inflammatory effects of famotidine and other H2R antagonists was assessed in mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cytokine storm. As the inflammatory reflex is integrated and can be stimulated in the brain, and H2R antagonists penetrate the blood brain barrier poorly, famotidine was administered by intracerebroventricular (ICV) or intraperitoneal (IP) routes. Results: . Famotidine administered IP significantly reduced serum and splenic LPS-stimulated tumor necrosis factor α and interleukin-6 concentrations, significantly improving survival. The effects of ICV famotidine were significantly more potent as compared to the peripheral route. Mice lacking mast cells by genetic deletion also responded to famotidine, indicating the anti-inflammatory effects are not mast cell dependent. Either bilateral sub-diaphragmatic vagotomy or genetic knock-out of α7nAChR abolished the anti-inflammatory effects of famotidine, indicating the inflammatory reflex as famotidine’s mechanism of action. While the structurally similar H2R antagonist tiotidine displayed equivalent anti-inflammatory activity, the H2R antagonists cimetidine or ranitidine were ineffective even at very high dosages. Conclusions: . These observations reveal a previously unidentified vagus nerve-dependent anti-inflammatory effect of famotidine in the setting of cytokine storm which is not replicated by high dosages of other H2R antagonists in clinical use. Because famotidine is more potent when administered intrathecally, these findings are also consistent with a primarily central nervous system mechanism of action.

3.
Res Sq ; 2022 Apr 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1786501

ABSTRACT

Background. Severe COVID-19 is characterized by pro-inflammatory cytokine release syndrome (cytokine storm) which causes high morbidity and mortality. Recent observational and clinical studies suggest famotidine, a histamine 2 receptor (H2R) antagonist widely used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease , attenuates the clinical course of COVID-19. Because evidence is lacking for a direct antiviral activity of famotidine, a proposed mechanism of action is blocking the effects of histamine released by mast cells. Here we hypothesized that famotidine activates the inflammatory reflex, a brain-integrated vagus nerve mechanism which inhibits inflammation via alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ( α7nAChR ) signal transduction, to prevent cytokine storm. Methods. The potential anti-inflammatory effects of famotidine and other H2R antagonists was assessed in mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cytokine storm. As the inflammatory reflex is integrated and can be stimulated in the brain, and H2R antagonists penetrate the blood brain barrier poorly, famotidine was administered by intracerebroventricular (ICV) or intraperitoneal (IP) routes. Results. Famotidine administered IP significantly reduced serum and splenic LPS-stimulated tumor necrosis factor α and interleukin-6 concentrations, significantly improving survival. The effects of ICV famotidine were significantly more potent as compared to the peripheral route. Mice lacking mast cells by genetic deletion also responded to famotidine, indicating the anti-inflammatory effects are not mast cell dependent. Either bilateral sub-diaphragmatic vagotomy or genetic knock-out of α7nAChR abolished the anti-inflammatory effects of famotidine, indicating the inflammatory reflex as famotidine's mechanism of action. While the structurally similar H2R antagonist tiotidine displayed equivalent anti-inflammatory activity, the H2R antagonists cimetidine or ranitidine were ineffective even at very high dosages. Conclusions. These observations reveal a previously unidentified vagus nerve-dependent anti-inflammatory effect of famotidine in the setting of cytokine storm which is not replicated by high dosages of other H2R antagonists in clinical use. Because famotidine is more potent when administered intrathecally, these findings are also consistent with a primarily central nervous system mechanism of action.

4.
The FASEB Journal ; 35(S1), 2021.
Article in English | Wiley | ID: covidwho-1234045

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. currently exceeds 21.1 million cases and 350,000 deaths. Consumption of famotidine, a histamine H2 receptor antagonist widely used to treat acid reflux and gastritis, is associated with improved survival and attenuated COVID-19 disease severity (Mather JF et al. Am J Gastroenterol. 115:1617,2020;Freedberg DE, et al. Gastroenterology 159: 1129, 2020;Janowitz T et al. Gut, 69:1592, 2020). However, the mode of action for these beneficial effects is unknown. Here we studied famotidine in mice exposed to bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS). LPS (6 mg/kg) was administered intraperitoneally in male C57BL/6 mice followed by intraperitoneal injection of famotidine (100 µg/mouse) or vehicle (PBS) twice daily for 3 days. Two-week survival was 100% in the famotidine-treated group vs. 70% in the PBS-control group (n=30/group, p < 0.05). Furthermore, famotidine administration significantly reduced serum and splenic TNF levels and serum IL-6 levels in the endotoxemic mice (p<0.05, famotidine vs. PBS). Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells co-cultured with famotidine and LPS also express significantly reduced amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF, IL-6, HMGB1, IP-10, GM-CSF). Together these results indicate famotidine inhibits endotoxin induced cytokine storm and attenuates lethality in mice exposed to lethal endotoxemia.

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