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1.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687050

ABSTRACT

Despite the development of specific therapies against severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the continuous investigation of the mechanism of action of clinically approved drugs could provide new information on the druggable steps of virus-host interaction. For example, chloroquine (CQ)/hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) lacks in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2 in TMPRSS2-expressing cells, such as human pneumocyte cell line Calu-3, and likewise, failed to show clinical benefit in the Solidarity and Recovery clinical trials. Another antimalarial drug, mefloquine, which is not a 4-aminoquinoline like CQ/HCQ, has emerged as a potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiviral in vitro and has also been previously repurposed for respiratory diseases. Here, we investigated the anti-SARS-CoV-2 mechanism of action of mefloquine in cells relevant for the physiopathology of COVID-19, such as Calu-3 cells (that recapitulate type II pneumocytes) and monocytes. Molecular pathways modulated by mefloquine were assessed by differential expression analysis, and confirmed by biological assays. A PBPK model was developed to assess mefloquine's optimal doses for achieving therapeutic concentrations. Mefloquine inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in Calu-3, with an EC50 of 1.2 µM and EC90 of 5.3 µM. It reduced SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels in monocytes and prevented virus-induced enhancement of IL-6 and TNF-α. Mefloquine reduced SARS-CoV-2 entry and synergized with Remdesivir. Mefloquine's pharmacological parameters are consistent with its plasma exposure in humans and its tissue-to-plasma predicted coefficient points suggesting that mefloquine may accumulate in the lungs. Altogether, our data indicate that mefloquine's chemical structure could represent an orally available host-acting agent to inhibit virus entry.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Mefloquine/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line , Drug Repositioning/methods , Humans , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Virus Internalization/drug effects
2.
Life Sci ; 293: 120324, 2022 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616648

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) 2 is the receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Viral cellular entry requires ACE2 and transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2). ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin (Ang) receptor blockers (ARBs) influence ACE2 in animals, though evidence in human lungs is lacking. We investigated ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in type II pneumocytes, the key cells that maintain lung homeostasis, in lung parenchymal of ACEI/ARB-treated subjects compared to untreated control subjects. MAIN METHODS: Ang II and Ang-(1-7) levels and ACE2 and TMPRSS2 protein expression were measured by radioimmunoassay and immunohistochemistry, respectively. KEY FINDINGS: We found that the ratio Ang-(1-7)/Ang II, a surrogate marker of ACE2 activity, as well as the amount of ACE2-expressing type II pneumocytes were not different between ACEI/ARB-treated and untreated subjects. ACE2 protein content correlated positively with smoking habit and age. The percentage of TMPRSS2-expressing type II pneumocytes was higher in males than females and in subjects under 60 years of age but it was not different between ACEI/ARB-treated and untreated subjects. However, there was a positive association of TMPRSS2 protein content with age and smoking in ACEI/ARB-treated subjects, with high TMPRSS2 protein levels most evident in ACEI/ARB-treated older adults and smokers. SIGNIFICANCE: ACEI/ARB treatment influences human lung TMPRSS2 but not ACE2 protein content and this effect is dependent on age and smoking habit. This finding may help explain the increased susceptibility to COVID-19 seen in smokers and older patients with treated cardiovascular-related pathologies.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/chemistry , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Angiotensin I/metabolism , Angiotensin II/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/analysis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Female , Humans , Lung/chemistry , Lung/drug effects , Lung/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Peptide Fragments/metabolism , Renin-Angiotensin System/drug effects , Retrospective Studies , Serine Endopeptidases/analysis , Smoking/metabolism , Smoking/pathology
3.
J Toxicol Sci ; 46(9): 425-435, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389030

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2 enters host cells by binding with the receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). While ACE2 is expressed in multiple cell types, it has been implicated in the clinical progression of COVID-19 as an entry point for SARS-CoV-2 into respiratory cells. Human respiratory cells, such as airway and alveolar epithelial type II (ATII) cells, are considered essential for COVID-19 research; however, primary human respiratory cells are difficult to obtain. In the present study, we generated ATII and club cells from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) for SARS-CoV-2 infection and drug testing. The differentiated cells expressed ATII markers (SFTPB, SFTPC, ABCA3, SLC34A2) or club cell markers (SCGB1A1 and SCGB3A2). Differentiated cells, which express ACE2 and TMPRSS2, were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Remdesivir treatment decreased intracellular SARS-CoV-2 viral replication and, furthermore, treatment with bleomycin showed cytotoxicity in a concentration-dependent manner. These data suggest that hiPSC-derived AT2 and club cells provide a useful in vitro model for drug development.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Bleomycin/toxicity , Cell Differentiation , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Toxicity Tests , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/pharmacology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/pathology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Line , Cell Survival/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/pathology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/virology , Phenotype , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication/drug effects
4.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(14)2021 Jul 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323266

ABSTRACT

Smoking is a major risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and causes remodeling of the small airways. However, the exact smoke-induced effects on the different types of small airway epithelial cells (SAECs) are poorly understood. Here, using air-liquid interface (ALI) cultures, single-cell RNA-sequencing reveals previously unrecognized transcriptional heterogeneity within the small airway epithelium and cell type-specific effects upon acute and chronic cigarette smoke exposure. Smoke triggers detoxification and inflammatory responses and aberrantly activates and alters basal cell differentiation. This results in an increase of inflammatory basal-to-secretory cell intermediates and, particularly after chronic smoke exposure, a massive expansion of a rare inflammatory and squamous metaplasia associated KRT6A+ basal cell state and an altered secretory cell landscape. ALI cultures originating from healthy non-smokers and COPD smokers show similar responses to cigarette smoke exposure, although an increased pro-inflammatory profile is conserved in the latter. Taken together, the in vitro models provide high-resolution insights into the smoke-induced remodeling of the small airways resembling the pathological processes in COPD airways. The data may also help to better understand other lung diseases including COVID-19, as the data reflect the smoke-dependent variable induction of SARS-CoV-2 entry factors across SAEC populations.


Subject(s)
Airway Remodeling/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Cigarette Smoking/adverse effects , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/pathology , Cell Differentiation/drug effects , Cells, Cultured , Cigarette Smoking/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Humans , Neoplasms, Basal Cell/metabolism , Primary Cell Culture , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/etiology , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/metabolism , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/pathology , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/pathology , Smoke , Smoking/adverse effects , Smoking/metabolism
5.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 12324, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1265975

ABSTRACT

The pro-homeostatic lipid mediators elovanoids (ELVs) attenuate cell binding and entrance of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) as well as of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in human primary alveoli cells in culture. We uncovered that very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid precursors (VLC-PUFA, n-3) activate ELV biosynthesis in lung cells. Both ELVs and their precursors reduce the binding to RBD. ELVs downregulate angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and enhance the expression of a set of protective proteins hindering cell surface virus binding and upregulating defensive proteins against lung damage. In addition, ELVs and their precursors decreased the signal of spike (S) protein found in SARS-CoV-2 infected cells, suggesting that the lipids curb viral infection. These findings open avenues for potential preventive and disease-modifiable therapeutic approaches for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/metabolism , Cells, Cultured , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
6.
Cell Rep ; 35(10): 109218, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1233382

ABSTRACT

Although the main cellular target of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is thought to be alveolar cells, the absence of their tractable culture system precludes the development of a clinically relevant SARS-CoV-2 infection model. Here, we establish an efficient human alveolosphere culture method and sphere-based drug testing platform for SARS-CoV-2. Alveolospheres exhibit indolent growth in a Wnt- and R-spondin-dependent manner. Gene expression, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy analyses reveal the presence of alveolar cells in alveolospheres. Alveolospheres express ACE2 and allow SARS-CoV-2 to propagate nearly 100,000-fold in 3 days of infection. Whereas lopinavir and nelfinavir, protease inhibitors used for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, have a modest anti-viral effect on SARS-CoV-2, remdesivir, a nucleotide prodrug, shows an anti-viral effect at the concentration comparable with the circulating drug level. These results demonstrate the validity of the alveolosphere culture system for the development of therapeutic agents to combat SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spheroids, Cellular , Time Factors , Virus Replication/drug effects , Wnt Signaling Pathway
7.
Nature ; 594(7861): 88-93, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1171428

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is a disease with unique characteristics that include lung thrombosis1, frequent diarrhoea2, abnormal activation of the inflammatory response3 and rapid deterioration of lung function consistent with alveolar oedema4. The pathological substrate for these findings remains unknown. Here we show that the lungs of patients with COVID-19 contain infected pneumocytes with abnormal morphology and frequent multinucleation. The generation of these syncytia results from activation of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at the cell plasma membrane level. On the basis of these observations, we performed two high-content microscopy-based screenings with more than 3,000 approved drugs to search for inhibitors of spike-driven syncytia. We converged on the identification of 83 drugs that inhibited spike-mediated cell fusion, several of which belonged to defined pharmacological classes. We focused our attention on effective drugs that also protected against virus replication and associated cytopathicity. One of the most effective molecules was the antihelminthic drug niclosamide, which markedly blunted calcium oscillations and membrane conductance in spike-expressing cells by suppressing the activity of TMEM16F (also known as anoctamin 6), a calcium-activated ion channel and scramblase that is responsible for exposure of phosphatidylserine on the cell surface. These findings suggest a potential mechanism for COVID-19 disease pathogenesis and support the repurposing of niclosamide for therapy.


Subject(s)
Anoctamins/antagonists & inhibitors , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Fusion , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Giant Cells/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/pathology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Animals , Anoctamins/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Calcium Signaling/drug effects , Cell Line , Chloride Channels/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Giant Cells/metabolism , Giant Cells/virology , Humans , Lung/drug effects , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
8.
Cell Cycle ; 19(24): 3632-3638, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066164

ABSTRACT

PT150 is a clinical-stage molecule, taken orally, with a strong safety profile having completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials for its original use as an antidepressant. It has an active IND for COVID-19. Antiviral activities have been found for PT150 and other members of its class in a variety of virus families; thus, it was now tested against SARS-CoV-2 in human bronchial epithelial lining cells and showed effective 90% inhibitory antiviral concentration (EC90) of 5.55 µM. PT150 is a member of an extended platform of novel glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and androgen receptor (AR) modulating molecules. In vivo, their predominant net effect is one of systemic glucocorticoid antagonism, but they also show direct downregulation of AR and minor GR agonism at the cellular level. We hypothesize that anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity depends in part on this AR downregulation through diminished TMPRSS2 expression and modulation of ACE2 activity. Given that hypercortisolemia is now suggested to be a significant co-factor for COVID-19 progression, we also postulate an additive role for its potent immunomodulatory effects through systemic antagonism of cortisol.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Receptors, Androgen/metabolism , Receptors, Glucocorticoid/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Cell Line , Disease Progression , Down-Regulation , Glucocorticoids/antagonists & inhibitors , Glucocorticoids/metabolism , Humans , Hydrocortisone/antagonists & inhibitors , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Receptors, Glucocorticoid/agonists , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism
9.
J Ethnopharmacol ; 271: 113854, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1049827

ABSTRACT

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Since the occurrence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China in December 2019, COVID-19 has been quickly spreading out to other provinces and countries. Considering that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) played an important role during outbreak of SARS and H1N1, finding potential alternative approaches for COVID-19 treatment is necessary before vaccines are developed. According to previous studies, Maxing Shigan decoction (MXSGD) present a prominent antivirus effect and is often used to treat pulmonary diseases. Furthermore, we collected 115 open prescriptions for COVID-19 therapy from the National Health Commission, State Administration of TCM and other organizations, MXSGD was identified as the key formula. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of MXSGD against COVID-19 is still unknown. AIM OF THE STUDY: The present study aimed to evaluate the therapeutic mechanism of MXSGD against COVID-19 by network pharmacology and in vitro experiment verification, and screen the potential components which could bind to key targets of COVID-19 via molecular docking method. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multiple open-source databases related to TCM or compounds were employed to screen active ingredients and potential targets of MXSGD. Network pharmacology analysis methods were used to initially predict the antivirus and anti-inflammatory effects of MXSGD against COVID-19. IL-6 induced rat lung epithelial type Ⅱ cells (RLE-6TN) damage was established to explore the anti-inflammatory damage activity of MXSGD. After MXSGD intervention, the expression level of related proteins and their phosphorylation in the IL-6 mediated JAK-STAT signaling pathway were detected by Western blot. Molecular docking technique was used to further identify the potential substances which could bind to three key targets (ACE2, Mpro and RdRp) of COVID-19. RESULTS: In this study, 105 active ingredients and 1025 candidate targets were selected for MXSGD, 83 overlapping targets related to MXSGD and COVID-19 were identified, and the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of MXSGD against COVID-19 was constructed. According to the results of biological enrichment analysis, 63 significant KEGG pathways were enriched, and most of them were related to signal transduction, immune system and virus infection. Furthermore, according the relationship between signal pathways, we confirmed MXSGD could effectively inhibit IL-6 mediated JAK-STAT signal pathway related protein expression level, decreased the protein expression levels of p-JAK2, p-STAT3, Bax and Caspase 3, and increased the protein expression level of Bcl-2, thereby inhibiting RLE-6TN cells damage. In addition, according to the LibDock scores screening results, the components with strong potential affinity (Top 10) with ACE2, Mpro and RdRp are mainly from glycyrrhiza uralensis (Chinese name: Gancao) and semen armeniacae amarum (Chinese name: Kuxingren). Among them, amygdalin was selected as the optimal candidate component bind to all three key targets, and euchrenone, glycyrrhizin, and glycyrol also exhibited superior affinity interactions with ACE2, Mpro and RdRp, respectively. CONCLUSION: This work explained the positive characteristics of multi-component, multi-target, and multi-approach intervention with MXSGD in combating COVID-19, and preliminary revealed the antiviral and anti-inflammatory pharmacodynamic substances and mechanism of MXSGD, which might provide insights into the vital role of TCM in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/pharmacology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/chemistry , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Computational Biology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/chemistry , Drugs, Chinese Herbal/therapeutic use , Humans , Interleukin-6/immunology , Janus Kinases/metabolism , Medicine, Chinese Traditional/methods , Molecular Docking Simulation , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Protein Interaction Maps/drug effects , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Rats , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , STAT Transcription Factors/metabolism , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Signal Transduction/immunology
10.
Eur J Pharmacol ; 882: 173288, 2020 Sep 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-959742

ABSTRACT

In December 2019, many pneumonia cases with unidentified sources appeared in Wuhan, Hubei, China, with clinical symptoms like viral pneumonia. Deep sequencing analysis of samples from lower respiratory tract revealed a novel coronavirus, called 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Currently there is a rapid global spread. World Health Organization declare the disease a pandemic condition. The pathologic source of this disease was a new RNA virus from Coronaviridae family, which was named COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 entry starts with the binding of the spike glycoprotein expressed on the viral envelope to ACE2 on the alveolar surface followed by clathrin-dependent endocytosis of the SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 complex. SARS-CoV-2 enters the cells through endocytosis process, which is possibly facilitated, via a pH dependent endosomal cysteine protease cathepsins. Once inside the cells, SARS-CoV-2 exploits the endogenous transcriptional machinery of alveolar cells to replicate and spread through the entire lung. Endosomal acidic pH for SARS-CoV-2 processing and internalization is critical. After entering the cells, it possibly activates or hijack many intracellular pathways in favor of its replication. In the current opinion article, we will explain the possible involvement of unfolded protein response as a cellular stress response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Endoplasmic Reticulum/drug effects , Ionophores/pharmacology , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/cytology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Clathrin-Coated Vesicles/drug effects , Clathrin-Coated Vesicles/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Endocytosis/drug effects , Endoplasmic Reticulum/metabolism , Endosomes/drug effects , Endosomes/metabolism , Humans , Ionophores/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Unfolded Protein Response/drug effects
11.
FEBS J ; 287(17): 3664-3671, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-960850

ABSTRACT

The quest for the effective treatment against coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-coronavirus 2(CoV-2) coronavirus is hampered by the lack of knowledge concerning the basic cell biology of the infection. Given that most viruses use endocytosis to enter the host cell, mechanistic investigation of SARS-CoV-2 infection needs to consider the diversity of endocytic pathways available for SARS-CoV-2 entry in the human lung epithelium. Taking advantage of the well-established methodology of membrane trafficking studies, this research direction allows for the rapid characterisation of the key cell biological mechanism(s) responsible for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Furthermore, 11 clinically approved generic drugs are identified as potential candidates for repurposing as blockers of several potential routes for SARS-CoV-2 endocytosis. More broadly, the paradigm of targeting a fundamental aspect of human cell biology to protect against infection may be advantageous in the context of future pandemic outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Endocytosis/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Amiloride/pharmacology , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Caveolae/drug effects , Caveolae/virology , Chlorpromazine/pharmacology , Clathrin-Coated Vesicles/drug effects , Clathrin-Coated Vesicles/virology , Endosomes/drug effects , Endosomes/virology , Humans , Itraconazole/pharmacology , Lung/drug effects , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Lysosomes/drug effects , Lysosomes/virology , Nystatin/pharmacology , Pinocytosis/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Vinblastine/pharmacology
12.
Cell Stem Cell ; 27(6): 890-904.e8, 2020 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-885443

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus infection causes diffuse alveolar damage leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome. The absence of ex vivo models of human alveolar epithelium is hindering an understanding of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis. Here, we report a feeder-free, scalable, chemically defined, and modular alveolosphere culture system for the propagation and differentiation of human alveolar type 2 cells/pneumocytes derived from primary lung tissue. Cultured pneumocytes express the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme receptor type-2 (ACE2) and can be infected with virus. Transcriptome and histological analysis of infected alveolospheres mirror features of COVID-19 lungs, including emergence of interferon (IFN)-mediated inflammatory responses, loss of surfactant proteins, and apoptosis. Treatment of alveolospheres with IFNs recapitulates features of virus infection, including cell death. In contrast, alveolospheres pretreated with low-dose IFNs show a reduction in viral replication, suggesting the prophylactic effectiveness of IFNs against SARS-CoV-2. Human stem cell-based alveolospheres, thus, provide novel insights into COVID-19 pathogenesis and can serve as a model for understanding human respiratory diseases.


Subject(s)
Adult Stem Cells/virology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , Interferons/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Adult Stem Cells/drug effects , Adult Stem Cells/enzymology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/enzymology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cell Culture Techniques , Cell Differentiation , Female , Humans , Inflammation , Male , Mice , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Transcriptome , Virus Replication
13.
Med Hypotheses ; 144: 110277, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-765392

ABSTRACT

A hypothesis concerning the potential utility of surfactant supplementation for the treatment of critically ill patients with COVID-19 is proposed, along with a brief summary of the data in the literature supporting this idea. It is thought that surfactant, which is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration for intratracheal administration to treat neonatal respiratory distress syndrome in pre-term infants, could benefit COVID-19-infected individuals by: (1) restoring surfactant damaged by lung infection and/or decreased due to the virus-induced death of the type II pneumocytes that produce it and (2) reducing surface tension to decrease the work of breathing and limit pulmonary edema. In addition, a constituent of surfactant, phosphatidylglycerol, could mitigate COVID-19-induced lung pathology by: (3) decreasing excessive innate immune system stimulation via its inhibition of toll-like receptor-2 and -4 activation by microbial components and cellular proteins released by damaged cells, thereby limiting inflammation and the resultant pulmonary edema, and (4) possibly blocking spread of the viral infection to non-infected cells in the lung. Therefore, it is suggested that surfactant preparations containing phosphatidylglycerol be tested for their ability to improve lung function in critically ill patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , Phosphatidylglycerols/therapeutic use , Pulmonary Surfactants/therapeutic use , Adult , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cattle , Critical Illness , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Inflammation , Lung/pathology , Models, Theoretical , Pulmonary Edema/immunology , Swine
15.
Nature ; 586(7827): 113-119, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-672174

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in 2019 has triggered an ongoing global pandemic of the severe pneumonia-like disease coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)1. The development of a vaccine is likely to take at least 12-18 months, and the typical timeline for approval of a new antiviral therapeutic agent can exceed 10 years. Thus, repurposing of known drugs could substantially accelerate the deployment of new therapies for COVID-19. Here we profiled a library of drugs encompassing approximately 12,000 clinical-stage or Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved small molecules to identify candidate therapeutic drugs for COVID-19. We report the identification of 100 molecules that inhibit viral replication of SARS-CoV-2, including 21 drugs that exhibit dose-response relationships. Of these, thirteen were found to harbour effective concentrations commensurate with probable achievable therapeutic doses in patients, including the PIKfyve kinase inhibitor apilimod2-4 and the cysteine protease inhibitors MDL-28170, Z LVG CHN2, VBY-825 and ONO 5334. Notably, MDL-28170, ONO 5334 and apilimod were found to antagonize viral replication in human pneumocyte-like cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, and apilimod also demonstrated antiviral efficacy in a primary human lung explant model. Since most of the molecules identified in this study have already advanced into the clinic, their known pharmacological and human safety profiles will enable accelerated preclinical and clinical evaluation of these drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/analysis , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/cytology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/growth & development , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/analysis , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Drug Synergism , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Hydrazones , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology , Models, Biological , Morpholines/analysis , Morpholines/pharmacology , Pandemics , Pyrimidines , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Small Molecule Libraries/analysis , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Triazines/analysis , Triazines/pharmacology , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
16.
Eur Respir J ; 56(5)2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-648811

ABSTRACT

While severe coronavirus infections, including Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), cause lung injury with high mortality rates, protective treatment strategies are not approved for clinical use.We elucidated the molecular mechanisms by which the cyclophilin inhibitors cyclosporin A (CsA) and alisporivir (ALV) restrict MERS-CoV to validate their suitability as readily available therapy in MERS-CoV infection.Calu-3 cells and primary human alveolar epithelial cells (hAECs) were infected with MERS-CoV and treated with CsA or ALV or inhibitors targeting cyclophilin inhibitor-regulated molecules including calcineurin, nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFATs) or mitogen-activated protein kinases. Novel CsA-induced pathways were identified by RNA sequencing and manipulated by gene knockdown or neutralising antibodies. Viral replication was quantified by quantitative real-time PCR and 50% tissue culture infective dose. Data were validated in a murine MERS-CoV infection model.Both CsA and ALV reduced MERS-CoV titres and viral RNA replication in Calu-3 cells and hAECs, improving epithelial integrity. While neither calcineurin nor NFAT inhibition reduced MERS-CoV propagation, blockade of c-Jun N-terminal kinase diminished infectious viral particle release but not RNA accumulation. Importantly, CsA induced interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1), a pronounced type III interferon (IFNλ) response and expression of antiviral genes. Downregulation of IRF1 or IFNλ increased MERS-CoV propagation in the presence of CsA. Importantly, oral application of CsA reduced MERS-CoV replication in vivo, correlating with elevated lung IFNλ levels and improved outcome.We provide evidence that cyclophilin inhibitors efficiently decrease MERS-CoV replication in vitro and in vivo via upregulation of inflammatory antiviral cell responses, in particular IFNλ. CsA might therefore represent a promising candidate for treating MERS-CoV infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Cyclophilins/antagonists & inhibitors , Cyclosporine/pharmacology , Interferons/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Animals , Calcineurin Inhibitors/pharmacology , Cell Culture Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factor-1/drug effects , Interferon Regulatory Factor-1/metabolism , Interferons/drug effects , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
17.
Med Hypotheses ; 144: 110005, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-599137

ABSTRACT

Cytokine storm, multiorgan failure, and particularly acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with COVID-19. A fulminant ARDS kills the majority of COVID-19 victims. Pirfenidone (5-methyl-1-phenyl-2-[1H]-pyridone), is a novel anti-fibrotic agent with trivial adverse effects. Pirfenidone is approved for the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) for patients with mild to moderate disease. Pirfenidone could inhibit apoptosis, downregulate ACE receptors expression, decrease inflammation by several mechanisms and ameliorate oxidative stress and hence protect pneumocytes and other cells from COVID-19 invasion and cytokine storm simultaneously. Based on the pirfenidone mechanism of action and the known pathophysiology of COVID-19, I believe that pirfenidone has the potential for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Pyridones/therapeutic use , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/biosynthesis , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , COVID-19/complications , Cytokine Release Syndrome/etiology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/prevention & control , Disease Models, Animal , Down-Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Lipid Peroxidation/drug effects , Oxidative Stress/drug effects , Pyridones/pharmacology , Receptors, Virus/biosynthesis , Receptors, Virus/genetics
18.
Med Hypotheses ; 144: 109988, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-591493

ABSTRACT

Pentoxifylline (PTX) is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor that increases cyclic adenosine monophosphate levels, which in turn activate protein kinase, leading to a reduction in the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines to ultimately influence the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in vitro by inhibiting angiotensin 1 receptor (AT1R) expression. The rheological, anti-inflammatory, and renin-angiotensin axis properties of PTX highlight this drug as a therapeutic treatment alternative for patients with COVID-19 by helping reduce the production of the inflammatory cytokines without deleterious effects on the immune system to delay viral clearance. Moreover, PTX can restore the balance of the immune response, reduce damage to the endothelium and alveolar epithelial cells, improve circulation, and prevent microvascular thrombosis. There is further evidence that PTX can improve ventilatory parameters. Therefore, we propose repositioning PTX in the treatment of COVID-19. The main advantage of repositioning PTX is that it is an affordable drug that is already available worldwide with an established safety profile, further offering the possibility of immediately analysing the result of its use and associated success rates. Another advantage is that PTX selectively reduces the concentration of TNF-α mRNA in cells, which, in the case of an acute infectious state such as COVID-19, would seem to offer a more strategic approach.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Pentoxifylline/therapeutic use , Renin-Angiotensin System/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Angiotensin II/physiology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Complement Activation/drug effects , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Cytokines/genetics , Disease Models, Animal , Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Inflammation , Lymphocyte Subsets/drug effects , Microcirculation/drug effects , Oxidative Stress , Pentoxifylline/pharmacology , Rats , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Venous Thromboembolism/etiology , Venous Thromboembolism/prevention & control
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