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Molecules ; 26(20)2021 Oct 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470935


Excessive host inflammation following infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with severity and mortality in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We recently reported that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein S1 subunit (S1) induces pro-inflammatory responses by activating toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling in macrophages. A standardized extract of Asparagus officinalis stem (EAS) is a unique functional food that elicits anti-photoaging effects by suppressing pro-inflammatory signaling in hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet B-exposed skin fibroblasts. To elucidate its potential in preventing excessive inflammation in COVID-19, we examined the effects of EAS on pro-inflammatory responses in S1-stimulated macrophages. Murine peritoneal exudate macrophages were co-treated with EAS and S1. Concentrations and mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and reverse transcription and real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively. Expression and phosphorylation levels of signaling proteins were analyzed using western blotting and fluorescence immunomicroscopy. EAS significantly attenuated S1-induced secretion of interleukin (IL)-6 in a concentration-dependent manner without reducing cell viability. EAS also markedly suppressed the S1-induced transcription of IL-6 and IL-1ß. However, among the TLR4 signaling proteins, EAS did not affect the degradation of inhibitor κBα, nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-κB p65 subunit, and phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase p54 subunit after S1 exposure. In contrast, EAS significantly suppressed S1-induced phosphorylation of p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Akt. Attenuation of S1-induced transcription of IL-6 and IL-1ß by the MAPK kinase inhibitor U0126 was greater than that by the Akt inhibitor perifosine, and the effects were potentiated by simultaneous treatment with both inhibitors. These results suggest that EAS attenuates S1-induced IL-6 and IL-1ß production by suppressing p44/42 MAPK and Akt signaling in macrophages. Therefore, EAS may be beneficial in regulating excessive inflammation in patients with COVID-19.

Asparagus Plant/chemistry , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Macrophages/drug effects , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Animals , Asparagus Plant/metabolism , Butadienes/pharmacology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Interleukin-1beta/genetics , Interleukin-6/genetics , Macrophages/cytology , Macrophages/metabolism , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1/antagonists & inhibitors , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1/metabolism , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3/antagonists & inhibitors , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3/metabolism , Nitriles/pharmacology , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Plant Extracts/chemistry , Plant Stems/chemistry , Plant Stems/metabolism , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/antagonists & inhibitors , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/pharmacology , Toll-Like Receptor 4/metabolism , Transcription, Genetic/drug effects
PLoS One ; 16(6): e0248479, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266543


The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 has become a global pandemic in a very short time span. Currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine to counter this highly contagious disease. There is an urgent need to find a specific cure for the disease and global efforts are directed at developing SARS-CoV-2 specific antivirals and immunomodulators. Ayurvedic Rasayana therapy has been traditionally used in India for its immunomodulatory and adaptogenic effects, and more recently has been included as therapeutic adjuvant for several maladies. Amongst several others, Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), Tinospora cordifolia (Guduchi) and Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) play an important role in Rasayana therapy. The objective of this study was to explore the immunomodulatory and anti SARS-CoV2 potential of phytoconstituents from Ashwagandha, Guduchi and Shatavari using network pharmacology and docking. The plant extracts were prepared as per ayurvedic procedures and a total of 31 phytoconstituents were identified using UHPLC-PDA and mass spectrometry studies. To assess the immunomodulatory potential of these phytoconstituents an in-silico network pharmacology model was constructed. The model predicts that the phytoconstituents possess the potential to modulate several targets in immune pathways potentially providing a protective role. To explore if these phytoconstituents also possess antiviral activity, docking was performed with the Spike protein, Main Protease and RNA dependent RNA polymerase of the virus. Interestingly, several phytoconstituents are predicted to possess good affinity for the three targets, suggesting their application for the termination of viral life cycle. Further, predictive tools indicate that there would not be adverse herb-drug pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic interactions with concomitantly administered drug therapy. We thus make a compelling case to evaluate the potential of these Rasayana botanicals as therapeutic adjuvants in the management of COVID-19 following rigorous experimental validation.

Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Asparagus Plant/chemistry , COVID-19/metabolism , Immunologic Factors/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation/methods , Plant Extracts/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Tinospora/chemistry , Withania/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Herb-Drug Interactions , Humans , Immunologic Factors/pharmacokinetics , India , Medicine, Ayurvedic/methods , Phytotherapy/methods , Plant Extracts/pharmacokinetics , Protein Binding , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism