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1.
J Am Soc Nephrol ; 33(7): 1293-1307, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799028

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses full-length angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a main receptor to enter target cells. The goal of this study was to demonstrate the preclinical efficacy of a novel soluble ACE2 protein with increased duration of action and binding capacity in a lethal mouse model of COVID-19. METHODS: A human soluble ACE2 variant fused with an albumin binding domain (ABD) was linked via a dimerization motif hinge-like 4-cysteine dodecapeptide (DDC) to improve binding capacity to SARS-CoV-2. This novel soluble ACE2 protein (ACE2-1-618-DDC-ABD) was then administered intranasally and intraperitoneally to mice before intranasal inoculation of SARS-CoV-2 and then for two additional days post viral inoculation. RESULTS: Untreated animals became severely ill, and all had to be humanely euthanized by day 6 or 7 and had pulmonary alveolar hemorrhage with mononuclear infiltrates. In contrast, all but one mouse infected with a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2 that received ACE2-1-618-DDC-ABD survived. In the animals inoculated with SARS-CoV-2 that were untreated, viral titers were high in the lungs and brain, but viral titers were absent in the kidneys. Some untreated animals, however, had variable degrees of kidney proximal tubular injury as shown by attenuation of the proximal tubular brush border and increased NGAL and TUNEL staining. Viral titers in the lung and brain were reduced or nondetectable in mice that received ACE2-1-618-DDC-ABD, and the animals developed only moderate disease as assessed by a near-normal clinical score, minimal weight loss, and improved lung and kidney injury. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the preclinical efficacy of a novel soluble ACE2 protein, termed ACE2-1-618-DDC-ABD, in a lethal mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection that develops severe lung injury and variable degrees of moderate kidney proximal tubular injury.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/therapeutic use , Animals , COVID-19/therapy , Kidney/virology , Lung/virology , Mice , SARS-CoV-2
2.
J Am Soc Nephrol ; 2021 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197446

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is an urgent need for approaches to prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infection. Administration of soluble ACE2 protein acting as a decoy to bind to SARS-CoV-2 should limit viral uptake mediated by binding to membrane-bound full-length ACE2, and further therapeutic benefit should result from ensuring enzymatic ACE2 activity to affected organs in patients with COVID-19. METHODS: A short variant of human soluble ACE2 protein consisting of 618 amino acids (hACE2 1-618) was generated and fused with an albumin binding domain (ABD) using an artificial gene encoding ABDCon, with improved albumin binding affinity. Human kidney organoids were used for infectivity studies of SARS-CoV-2 in a BSL-3 facility to examine the neutralizing effect of these novel ACE2 variants. RESULTS: Whereas plasma ACE2 activity of the naked ACE2 1-618 and ACE2 1-740 lasted about 8 hours, the ACE2 1-618-ABD resulted in substantial activity at 96 hours, and it was still biologically active 3 days after injection. Human kidney organoids express ACE2 and TMPRSS2, and when infected with SARS-CoV-2, our modified long-acting ACE2 variant neutralized infection. CONCLUSIONS: This novel ACE2 1-618-ABD can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in human kidney organoids, and its prolonged duration of action should ensure improved efficacy to prevent viral escape and dosing convenience.

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