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AAPS J ; 24(1): 8, 2021 12 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555615


Lipidoid nanoparticles (LNPs) are the delivery platform in Onpattro, the first FDA-approved siRNA drug. LNPs are also the carriers in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. While these applications have demonstrated that LNPs effectively deliver nucleic acids to hepatic and muscle cells, it is unclear if LNPs could be used for delivery of siRNA to neural cells, which are notoriously challenging delivery targets. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if LNPs could efficiently deliver siRNA to neurons. Because of their potential delivery utility in either applications for the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, we used both cortical neurons and sensory neurons. We prepared siRNA-LNPs using C12-200, a benchmark ionizable cationic lipidoid along with helper lipids. We demonstrated using dynamic light scattering that the inclusion of both siRNA and PEG-lipid provided a stabilizing effect to the LNP particle diameters and polydispersity indices by minimizing aggregation. We found that siRNA-LNPs were safely tolerated by primary dorsal root ganglion neurons. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that Cy5 siRNA delivered via LNPs into rat primary cortical neurons showed uptake levels similar to Lipofectamine RNAiMAX-the gold standard commercial transfection agent. However, LNPs demonstrated a superior safety profile, whereas the Lipofectamine-mediated uptake was concomitant with significant toxicity. Fluorescence microscopy demonstrated a time-dependent increase in the uptake of LNP-delivered Cy5 siRNA in a human cortical neuron cell line. Overall, our results suggest that LNPs are a viable platform that can be optimized for delivery of therapeutic siRNAs to neural cells.

Ganglia, Spinal/metabolism , Lipids/chemistry , Nanoparticles , Neurons/metabolism , RNA, Small Interfering/administration & dosage , RNAi Therapeutics , Transfection , Animals , Carbocyanines/metabolism , Fluorescent Dyes/metabolism , Ganglia, Spinal/cytology , Humans , MCF-7 Cells , Microscopy, Fluorescence , Nanotechnology , Primary Cell Culture , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , Rats , Time Factors
Pain ; 161(11): 2494-2501, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-878868


SARS-CoV-2 has created a global crisis. COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is characterized by pneumonia, respiratory distress, and hypercoagulation and can be fatal. An early sign of infection is loss of smell, taste, and chemesthesis-loss of chemical sensation. Other neurological effects of the disease have been described, but not explained. It is now apparent that many of these neurological effects (for instance joint pain and headache) can persist for at least months after infection, suggesting a sensory neuronal involvement in persistent disease. We show that human dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons express the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 at the RNA and protein level. We also demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 and coronavirus-associated factors and receptors are broadly expressed in human DRG at the lumbar and thoracic level as assessed by bulk RNA sequencing. ACE2 mRNA is expressed by a subset of nociceptors that express MRGPRD mRNA, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 may gain access to the nervous system through entry into neurons that form free nerve endings at the outermost layers of skin and luminal organs. Therefore, DRG sensory neurons are a potential target for SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the peripheral nervous system, and viral infection of human nociceptors may cause some of the persistent neurological effects seen in COVID-19.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Ganglia, Spinal/metabolism , Nervous System Diseases/metabolism , Nociceptors/metabolism , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/biosynthesis , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/biosynthesis , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Female , Ganglia, Spinal/virology , Gene Expression , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nervous System Diseases/genetics , Nervous System Diseases/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
J Virol ; 94(14)2020 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-823496


Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) is a murine betacoronavirus (m-CoV) that causes a wide range of diseases in mice and rats, including hepatitis, enteritis, respiratory diseases, and encephalomyelitis in the central nervous system (CNS). MHV infection in mice provides an efficient cause-effect experimental model to understand the mechanisms of direct virus-induced neural-cell damage leading to demyelination and axonal loss, which are pathological features of multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common disabling neurological disease in young adults. Infiltration of T lymphocytes, activation of microglia, and their interplay are the primary pathophysiological events leading to disruption of the myelin sheath in MS. However, there is emerging evidence supporting gray matter involvement and degeneration in MS. The investigation of T cell function in the pathogenesis of deep gray matter damage is necessary. Here, we employed RSA59 (an isogenic recombinant strain of MHV-A59)-induced experimental neuroinflammation model to compare the disease in CD4-/- mice with that in CD4+/+ mice at days 5, 10, 15, and 30 postinfection (p.i.). Viral titer estimation, nucleocapsid gene amplification, and viral antinucleocapsid staining confirmed enhanced replication of the virions in the absence of functional CD4+ T cells in the brain. Histopathological analyses showed elevated susceptibility of CD4-/- mice to axonal degeneration in the CNS, with augmented progression of acute poliomyelitis and dorsal root ganglionic inflammation rarely observed in CD4+/+ mice. Depletion of CD4+ T cells showed unique pathological bulbar vacuolation in the brain parenchyma of infected mice with persistent CD11b+ microglia/macrophages in the inflamed regions on day 30 p.i. In summary, the current study suggests that CD4+ T cells are critical for controlling acute-stage poliomyelitis (gray matter inflammation), chronic axonal degeneration, and inflammatory demyelination due to loss of protective antiviral host immunity.IMPORTANCE The current trend in CNS disease biology is to attempt to understand the neural-cell-immune interaction to investigate the underlying mechanism of neuroinflammation, rather than focusing on peripheral immune activation. Most studies in MS are targeted toward understanding the involvement of CNS white matter. However, the importance of gray matter damage has become critical in understanding the long-term progressive neurological disorder. Our study highlights the importance of CD4+ T cells in safeguarding neurons against axonal blebbing and poliomyelitis from murine betacoronavirus-induced neuroinflammation. Current knowledge of the mechanisms that lead to gray matter damage in MS is limited, because the most widely used animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), does not present this aspect of the disease. Our results, therefore, add to the existing limited knowledge in the field. We also show that the microglia, though important for the initiation of neuroinflammation, cannot establish a protective host immune response without the help of CD4+ T cells.

Axons/immunology , Axons/metabolism , CD4 Antigens/deficiency , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Murine hepatitis virus/physiology , Poliomyelitis/etiology , Animals , Axons/pathology , Brain/immunology , Brain/metabolism , Brain/pathology , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Susceptibility/immunology , Ganglia, Spinal/immunology , Ganglia, Spinal/metabolism , Ganglia, Spinal/pathology , Immunohistochemistry , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Mice