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BMC Complement Med Ther ; 21(1): 141, 2021 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388756

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Herbal remedies of Echinacea purpurea tinctures are widely used today to reduce common cold respiratory tract infections. METHODS: Transcriptome, epigenome and kinome profiling allowed a systems biology level characterisation of genomewide immunomodulatory effects of a standardized Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench extract in THP1 monocytes. RESULTS: Gene expression and DNA methylation analysis revealed that Echinaforce® treatment triggers antiviral innate immunity pathways, involving tonic IFN signaling, activation of pattern recognition receptors, chemotaxis and immunometabolism. Furthermore, phosphopeptide based kinome activity profiling and pharmacological inhibitor experiments with filgotinib confirm a key role for Janus Kinase (JAK)-1 dependent gene expression changes in innate immune signaling. Finally, Echinaforce® treatment induces DNA hypermethylation at intergenic CpG, long/short interspersed nuclear DNA repeat elements (LINE, SINE) or long termininal DNA repeats (LTR). This changes transcription of flanking endogenous retroviral sequences (HERVs), involved in an evolutionary conserved (epi) genomic protective response against viral infections. CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, our results suggest that Echinaforce® phytochemicals strengthen antiviral innate immunity through tonic IFN regulation of pattern recognition and chemokine gene expression and DNA repeat hypermethylated silencing of HERVs in monocytes. These results suggest that immunomodulation by Echinaforce® treatment holds promise to reduce symptoms and duration of infection episodes of common cold corona viruses (CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV, and new occurring strains such as SARS-CoV-2, with strongly impaired interferon (IFN) response and weak innate antiviral defense.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Echinacea , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Monocytes/drug effects , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Gene Expression , Humans , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Interferons/drug effects , Phytotherapy , Plant Extracts/therapeutic use
2.
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
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