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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.
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.

3.
Gut ; 71(5): 879-888, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685682

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: We assessed whether famotidine improved inflammation and symptomatic recovery in outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19. DESIGN: Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, fully remote, phase 2 clinical trial (NCT04724720) enrolling symptomatic unvaccinated adult outpatients with confirmed COVID-19 between January 2021 and April 2021 from two US centres. Patients self-administered 80 mg famotidine (n=28) or placebo (n=27) orally three times a day for 14 consecutive days. Endpoints were time to (primary) or rate of (secondary) symptom resolution, and resolution of inflammation (exploratory). RESULTS: Of 55 patients in the intention-to-treat group (median age 35 years (IQR: 20); 35 women (64%); 18 African American (33%); 14 Hispanic (26%)), 52 (95%) completed the trial, submitting 1358 electronic symptom surveys. Time to symptom resolution was not statistically improved (p=0.4). Rate of symptom resolution was improved for patients taking famotidine (p<0.0001). Estimated 50% reduction of overall baseline symptom scores were achieved at 8.2 days (95% CI: 7 to 9.8 days) for famotidine and 11.4 days (95% CI: 10.3 to 12.6 days) for placebo treated patients. Differences were independent of patient sex, race or ethnicity. Five self-limiting adverse events occurred (famotidine, n=2 (40%); placebo, n=3 (60%)). On day 7, fewer patients on famotidine had detectable interferon alpha plasma levels (p=0.04). Plasma immunoglobulin type G levels to SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid core protein were similar between both arms. CONCLUSIONS: Famotidine was safe and well tolerated in outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Famotidine led to earlier resolution of symptoms and inflammation without reducing anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunity. Additional randomised trials are required.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Famotidine , Adult , COVID-19/drug therapy , Double-Blind Method , Famotidine/therapeutic use , Female , Humans , Inflammation , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome
4.
Cells ; 10(12)2021 11 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551567

ABSTRACT

High mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1), a highly conserved nuclear DNA-binding protein, is a "damage-associated molecular pattern" molecule (DAMP) implicated in both stimulating and inhibiting innate immunity. As reviewed here, HMGB1 is an oxidation-reduction sensitive DAMP bearing three cysteines, and the post-translational modification of these residues establishes its proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory activities by binding to different extracellular cell surface receptors. The redox-sensitive signaling mechanisms of HMGB1 also occupy an important niche in innate immunity because HMGB1 may carry other DAMPs and pathogen-associated molecular pattern molecules (PAMPs). HMGB1 with DAMP/PAMP cofactors bind to the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) which internalizes the HMGB1 complexes by endocytosis for incorporation in lysosomal compartments. Intra-lysosomal HMGB1 disrupts lysosomal membranes thereby releasing the HMGB1-transported molecules to stimulate cytosolic sensors that mediate inflammation. This HMGB1-DAMP/PAMP cofactor pathway slowed the development of HMGB1-binding antagonists for diagnostic or therapeutic use. However, recent discoveries that HMGB1 released from neurons mediates inflammation via the TLR4 receptor system, and that cancer cells express fully oxidized HMGB1 as an immunosuppressive mechanism, offer new paths to targeting HMGB1 for inflammation, pain, and cancer.


Subject(s)
Disulfides/metabolism , HMGB1 Protein/metabolism , Inflammation/metabolism , Protein Processing, Post-Translational , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Sensory Receptor Cells/metabolism
5.
Front Pharmacol ; 12: 624895, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238878

ABSTRACT

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a critical illness complication that is associated with high mortality. ARDS is documented in severe cases of COVID-19. No effective pharmacological treatments for ARDS are currently available. Dysfunctional immune responses and pulmonary and systemic inflammation are characteristic features of ARDS pathogenesis. Recent advances in our understanding of the regulation of inflammation point to an important role of the vagus-nerve-mediated inflammatory reflex and neural cholinergic signaling. We examined whether pharmacological cholinergic activation using a clinically approved (for myasthenia gravis) cholinergic drug, the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor pyridostigmine alters pulmonary and systemic inflammation in mice with lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced ARDS. Male C57Bl/6 mice received one intratracheal instillation of LPS or were sham manipulated (control). Both groups were treated with either vehicle or pyridostigmine (1.5 mg/kg twice daily, 3 mg/day) administered by oral gavage starting at 1 h post-LPS and euthanized 24 h after LPS administration. Other groups were either sham manipulated or received LPS for 3 days and were treated with vehicle or pyridostigmine and euthanized at 72 h. Pyridostigmine treatment reduced the increased total number of cells and neutrophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) in mice with ARDS at 24 and 72 h. Pyridostigmine also reduced the number of macrophages and lymphocytes at 72 h. In addition, pyridostigmine suppressed the levels of TNF, IL-1ß, IL-6, and IFN-γ in BALF and plasma at 24 and 72 h. However, this cholinergic agent did not significantly altered BALF and plasma levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Neither LPS nor pyridostigmine affected BALF IFN-γ and IL-10 levels at 24 h post-LPS. In conclusion, treatments with the cholinergic agent pyridostigmine ameliorate pulmonary and systemic inflammatory responses in mice with endotoxin-induced ARDS. Considering that pyridostigmine is a clinically approved drug, these findings are of substantial interest for implementing pyridostigmine in therapeutic strategies for ARDS.

6.
Mol Med ; 27(1): 49, 2021 05 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238700

ABSTRACT

A SARS-like coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a pandemic Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that killed more than 3.3 million people worldwide. Like the SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 also employs a receptor-binding motif (RBM) of its spike protein to bind a host receptor, the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), to gain entry. Currently, several mRNA or adenoviral vaccines encoding for the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 are being used to boost antibodies capable of inhibiting spike-ACE2 interaction and viral entry. However, recent evidence has also suggested an anti-inflammatory effect of spike-reactive antibodies, suggesting that some SARS-CoV-2 spike-based vaccines may elicit protective antibodies capable of inhibiting GM-CSF production and COVID-19 progression.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor/antagonists & inhibitors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor/metabolism , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Humans , Protein Binding/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
7.
J Leukoc Biol ; 111(1): 261-267, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1147560

ABSTRACT

A severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has recently caused a pandemic COVID-19 disease that infected approximately 94 million and killed more than 2,000,000 people worldwide. Like the SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 also employs a receptor-binding motif (RBM) of its envelope spike protein for binding the host angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to gain viral entry. Currently, extensive efforts are being made to produce vaccines against a surface fragment of a SARS-CoV-2, such as the spike protein, in order to boost protective antibodies that can inhibit virus-ACE2 interaction to prevent viral entry. It was previously unknown how spike protein-targeting antibodies would affect innate inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2 infections. Here we generated a highly purified recombinant protein corresponding to the RBM of SARS-CoV-2, and used it to screen for cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). We found two RBM-binding mAbs that competitively inhibited its interaction with human ACE2, and specifically blocked the RBM-induced GM-CSF secretion in both human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and murine macrophage cultures. Our findings have suggested a possible strategy to prevent SARS-CoV-2-elicited "cytokine storm," and revealed a potentially anti-inflammatory and protective mechanism for SARS-CoV-2 spike-based vaccines.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Amino Acid Motifs , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/metabolism , Macrophages/metabolism , Mice , Protein Binding , RAW 264.7 Cells , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism
8.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Sep 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-852088

ABSTRACT

A severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has recently caused a pandemic COVID-19 disease that infected more than 25.6 million and killed 852,000 people worldwide. Like the SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 also employs a receptor-binding motif (RBM) of its envelope spike protein for binding the host angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to gain viral entry. Currently, extensive efforts are being made to produce vaccines against a surface fragment of a SARS-CoV-2, such as the spike protein, in order to boost protective antibody responses. It was previously unknown how spike protein-targeting antibodies would affect innate inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2 infections. Here we generated a highly purified recombinant protein corresponding to the RBM of SARS-CoV-2, and used it to screen for cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). We found two RBM-binding mAbs that competitively inhibited its interaction with human ACE2, and specifically blocked the RBM-induced GM-CSF secretion in both human monocyte and murine macrophage cultures. Our findings have suggested a possible strategy to prevent SARS-CoV-2-elicited "cytokine storm", and provided a potentially useful criteria for future assessment of innate immune-modulating properties of various SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: RBM-binding Antibodies Inhibit GM-CSF Induction.

10.
Mol Med ; 26(1): 63, 2020 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-617382

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Oxygen therapy, using supraphysiological concentrations of oxygen (hyperoxia), is routinely administered to patients who require respiratory support including mechanical ventilation (MV). However, prolonged exposure to hyperoxia results in acute lung injury (ALI) and accumulation of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) in the airways. We previously showed that airway HMGB1 mediates hyperoxia-induced lung injury in a mouse model of ALI. Cholinergic signaling through the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) attenuates several inflammatory conditions. The aim of this study was to determine whether 3-(2,4 dimethoxy-benzylidene)-anabaseine dihydrochloride, GTS-21, an α7nAChR partial agonist, inhibits hyperoxia-induced HMGB1 accumulation in the airways and circulation, and consequently attenuates inflammatory lung injury. METHODS: Mice were exposed to hyperoxia (≥99% O2) for 3 days and treated concurrently with GTS-21 (0.04, 0.4 and 4 mg/kg, i.p.) or the control vehicle, saline. RESULTS: The systemic administration of GTS-21 (4 mg/kg) significantly decreased levels of HMGB1 in the airways and the serum. Moreover, GTS-21 (4 mg/kg) significantly reduced hyperoxia-induced acute inflammatory lung injury, as indicated by the decreased total protein content in the airways, reduced infiltration of inflammatory monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils into the lung tissue and airways, and improved lung injury histopathology. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that GTS-21 can attenuate hyperoxia-induced ALI by inhibiting extracellular HMGB1-mediated inflammatory responses. This suggests that the α7nAChR represents a potential pharmacological target for the treatment regimen of oxidative inflammatory lung injury in patients receiving oxygen therapy.


Subject(s)
Acute Lung Injury/etiology , Acute Lung Injury/metabolism , Benzylidene Compounds/pharmacology , HMGB1 Protein/metabolism , Hyperoxia/complications , Nicotinic Agonists/pharmacology , Pyridines/pharmacology , Acute Lung Injury/drug therapy , Acute Lung Injury/pathology , Animals , Biomarkers , Disease Susceptibility , HMGB1 Protein/blood , HMGB1 Protein/genetics , Immunohistochemistry , Male , Mice , Models, Biological
12.
Mol Med ; 26(1): 42, 2020 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-197895

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) causes for unresolved reasons acute respiratory distress syndrome in vulnerable individuals. There is a need to identify key pathogenic molecules in COVID-19-associated inflammation attainable to target with existing therapeutic compounds. The endogenous damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecule HMGB1 initiates inflammation via two separate pathways. Disulfide-HMGB1 triggers TLR4 receptors generating pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Extracellular HMGB1, released from dying cells or secreted by activated innate immunity cells, forms complexes with extracellular DNA, RNA and other DAMP or pathogen-associated molecular (DAMP) molecules released after lytic cell death. These complexes are endocytosed via RAGE, constitutively expressed at high levels in the lungs only, and transported to the endolysosomal system, which is disrupted by HMGB1 at high concentrations. Danger molecules thus get access to cytosolic proinflammatory receptors instigating inflammasome activation. It is conceivable that extracellular SARS-CoV-2 RNA may reach the cellular cytosol via HMGB1-assisted transfer combined with lysosome leakage. Extracellular HMGB1 generally exists in vivo bound to other molecules, including PAMPs and DAMPs. It is plausible that these complexes are specifically removed in the lungs revealed by a 40% reduction of HMGB1 plasma levels in arterial versus venous blood. Abundant pulmonary RAGE expression enables endocytosis of danger molecules to be destroyed in the lysosomes at physiological HMGB1 levels, but causing detrimental inflammasome activation at high levels. Stress induces apoptosis in pulmonary endothelial cells from females but necrosis in cells from males. CONCLUSION: Based on these observations we propose extracellular HMGB1 to be considered as a therapeutic target for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , HMGB1 Protein/metabolism , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Humans , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/prevention & control , Lung/metabolism , Lung/physiopathology , Molecular Targeted Therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Toll-Like Receptor 4/metabolism
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