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J Neuroinflammation ; 19(1): 2, 2022 Jan 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1603365


BACKGROUND: Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illnesses in the U.S. and are estimated to consume one-third of the country's mental health treatment cost. Although anxiolytic therapies are available, many patients still exhibit treatment resistance, relapse, or substantial side effects. Further, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home order, social isolation, fear of the pandemic, and unprecedented times, the incidence of anxiety has dramatically increased. Previously, we have demonstrated dihydromyricetin (DHM), the major bioactive flavonoid extracted from Ampelopsis grossedentata, exhibits anxiolytic properties in a mouse model of social isolation-induced anxiety. Because GABAergic transmission modulates the immune system in addition to the inhibitory signal transmission, we investigated the effects of short-term social isolation on the neuroimmune system. METHODS: Eight-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were housed under absolute social isolation for 4 weeks. The anxiety-like behaviors after DHM treatment were examined using elevated plus-maze and open field behavioral tests. Gephyrin protein expression, microglial profile changes, NF-κB pathway activation, cytokine level, and serum corticosterone were measured. RESULTS: Socially isolated mice showed increased anxiety levels, reduced exploratory behaviors, and reduced gephyrin levels. Also, a dynamic alteration in hippocampal microglia were detected illustrated as a decline in microglia number and overactivation as determined by significant morphological changes including decreases in lacunarity, perimeter, and cell size and increase in cell density. Moreover, social isolation induced an increase in serum corticosterone level and activation in NF-κB pathway. Notably, DHM treatment counteracted these changes. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that social isolation contributes to neuroinflammation, while DHM has the ability to improve neuroinflammation induced by anxiety.

Flavonols/pharmacology , Inflammation Mediators/antagonists & inhibitors , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Microglia/drug effects , Microglia/metabolism , Social Isolation/psychology , Animals , Anxiety/metabolism , Anxiety/prevention & control , Anxiety/psychology , Flavonols/therapeutic use , Male , Maze Learning/drug effects , Maze Learning/physiology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL
J Am Geriatr Soc ; 69(11): 3023-3033, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367342


The burden of senescent cells (SnCs), which do not divide but are metabolically active and resistant to death by apoptosis, is increased in older adults and those with chronic diseases. These individuals are also at the greatest risk for morbidity and mortality from SARS-CoV-2 infection. SARS-CoV-2 complications include cytokine storm and multiorgan failure mediated by the same factors as often produced by SnCs through their senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). The SASP can be amplified by infection-related pathogen-associated molecular profile factors. Senolytic agents, such as Fisetin, selectively eliminate SnCs and delay, prevent, or alleviate multiple disorders in aged experimental animals and animal models of human chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. Senolytics are now in clinical trials for multiple conditions linked to SnCs, including frailty; obesity/diabetes; osteoporosis; and cardiovascular, kidney, and lung diseases, which are also risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 morbidity and mortality. A clinical trial is underway to test if senolytics decrease SARS-CoV-2 progression and morbidity in hospitalized older adults. We describe here a National Institutes of Health-funded, multicenter, placebo-controlled clinical trial of Fisetin for older adult skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents who have been, or become, SARS-CoV-2 rtPCR-positive, including the rationale for targeting fundamental aging mechanisms in such patients. We consider logistic challenges of conducting trials in long-term care settings in the SARS-CoV-2 era, including restricted access, consent procedures, methods for obtaining biospecimens and clinical data, staffing, investigational product administration issues, and potential solutions for these challenges. We propose developing a national network of SNFs engaged in interventional clinical trials.

COVID-19/drug therapy , Cellular Senescence/drug effects , Flavonols/therapeutic use , Skilled Nursing Facilities , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , Clinical Trials as Topic , Drug Monitoring , Humans
Science ; 373(6552)2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262378


The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the pronounced vulnerability of the elderly and chronically ill to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-induced morbidity and mortality. Cellular senescence contributes to inflammation, multiple chronic diseases, and age-related dysfunction, but effects on responses to viral infection are unclear. Here, we demonstrate that senescent cells (SnCs) become hyper-inflammatory in response to pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), including SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-1, increasing expression of viral entry proteins and reducing antiviral gene expression in non-SnCs through a paracrine mechanism. Old mice acutely infected with pathogens that included a SARS-CoV-2-related mouse ß-coronavirus experienced increased senescence and inflammation, with nearly 100% mortality. Targeting SnCs by using senolytic drugs before or after pathogen exposure significantly reduced mortality, cellular senescence, and inflammatory markers and increased antiviral antibodies. Thus, reducing the SnC burden in diseased or aged individuals should enhance resilience and reduce mortality after viral infection, including that of SARS-CoV-2.

Aging , Cellular Senescence/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Flavonols/therapeutic use , Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern Molecules/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Dasatinib/pharmacology , Dasatinib/therapeutic use , Female , Flavonols/pharmacology , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Lipopolysaccharides , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Murine hepatitis virus/immunology , Quercetin/pharmacology , Quercetin/therapeutic use , Receptors, Coronavirus/genetics , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms