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Viruses ; 14(5)2022 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869812


Lipids play a crucial role in the entry and egress of viruses, regardless of whether they are naked or enveloped. Recent evidence shows that lipid involvement in viral infection goes much further. During replication, many viruses rearrange internal lipid membranes to create niches where they replicate and assemble. Because of the close connection between lipids and inflammation, the derangement of lipid metabolism also results in the production of inflammatory stimuli. Due to its pivotal function in the viral life cycle, lipid metabolism has become an area of intense research to understand how viruses seize lipids and to design antiviral drugs targeting lipid pathways. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a lipid-derived peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α) agonist that also counteracts SARS-CoV-2 entry and its replication. Our work highlights for the first time the antiviral potency of PEA against SARS-CoV-2, exerting its activity by two different mechanisms. First, its binding to the SARS-CoV-2 S protein causes a drop in viral infection of ~70%. We show that this activity is specific for SARS-CoV-2, as it does not prevent infection by VSV or HSV-2, other enveloped viruses that use different glycoproteins and entry receptors to mediate their entry. Second, we show that in infected Huh-7 cells, treatment with PEA dismantles lipid droplets, preventing the usage of these vesicular bodies by SARS-CoV-2 as a source of energy and protection against innate cellular defenses. This is not surprising since PEA activates PPAR-α, a transcription factor that, once activated, generates a cascade of events that leads to the disruption of fatty acid droplets, thereby bringing about lipid droplet degradation through ß-oxidation. In conclusion, the present work demonstrates a novel mechanism of action for PEA as a direct and indirect antiviral agent against SARS-CoV-2. This evidence reinforces the notion that treatment with this compound might significantly impact the course of COVID-19. Indeed, considering that the protective effects of PEA in COVID-19 are the current objectives of two clinical trials (NCT04619706 and NCT04568876) and given the relative lack of toxicity of PEA in humans, further preclinical and clinical tests will be needed to fully consider PEA as a promising adjuvant therapy in the current COVID-19 pandemic or against emerging RNA viruses that share the same route of replication as coronaviruses.

COVID-19 Drug Treatment , SARS-CoV-2 , Amides , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Ethanolamines , Humans , Palmitic Acids/pharmacology , Pandemics , Peas , Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Oct 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1480798


Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a severe condition characterized by the systemic formation of microthrombi complicated with bleeding tendency and organ dysfunction. In the last years, it represents one of the most frequent consequences of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The pathogenesis of DIC is complex, with cross-talk between the coagulant and inflammatory pathways. The objective of this study is to investigate the anti-inflammatory action of ultramicronized palmitoylethanolamide (um-PEA) in a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced DIC model in rats. Experimental DIC was induced by continual infusion of LPS (30 mg/kg) for 4 h through the tail vein. Um-PEA (30 mg/kg) was given orally 30 min before and 1 h after the start of intravenous infusion of LPS. Results showed that um-PEA reduced alteration of coagulation markers, as well as proinflammatory cytokine release in plasma and lung samples, induced by LPS infusion. Furthermore, um-PEA also has the effect of preventing the formation of fibrin deposition and lung damage. Moreover, um-PEA was able to reduce the number of mast cells (MCs) and the release of its serine proteases, which are also necessary for SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results suggest that um-PEA could be considered as a potential therapeutic approach in the management of DIC and in clinical implications associated to coagulopathy and lung dysfunction, such as COVID-19.

Amides/therapeutic use , Blood Coagulation Disorders/drug therapy , Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation/drug therapy , Ethanolamines/therapeutic use , Palmitic Acids/therapeutic use , Sepsis/complications , Amides/chemistry , Amides/pharmacology , Animals , Blood Coagulation Disorders/etiology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/blood , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation/etiology , Ethanolamines/chemistry , Ethanolamines/pharmacology , Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products/metabolism , Lipopolysaccharides/toxicity , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Male , Mast Cells/cytology , Mast Cells/drug effects , Mast Cells/metabolism , Palmitic Acids/chemistry , Palmitic Acids/pharmacology , Partial Thromboplastin Time , Prothrombin Time , Rats , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sepsis/pathology , Serine Proteases/metabolism
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(11)2021 May 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1273453


Acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are common and devastating clinical disorders with high mortality and no specific therapy. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is usually used intratracheally to induce ALI in mice. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of an ultramicronized preparation of palmitoylethanolamide (um-PEA) in mice subjected to LPS-induced ALI. Histopathological analysis reveals that um-PEA reduced alteration in lung after LPS intratracheal administration. Besides, um-PEA decreased wet/dry weight ratio and myeloperoxidase, a marker of neutrophils infiltration, macrophages and total immune cells number and mast cells degranulation in lung. Moreover, um-PEA could also decrease cytokines release of interleukin (IL)-6, interleukin (IL)-1ß, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-18. Furthermore, um-PEA significantly inhibited the phosphorylation of nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells inhibitor, alpha (IκBα) and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) activation in ALI, and at the same time decreased extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38/MAPK) expression, that was increased after LPS administration. Our study suggested that um-PEA contrasted LPS-induced ALI, exerting its potential role as an adjuvant anti-inflammatory therapeutic for treating lung injury, maybe also by p38/NF-κB pathway.

Acute Lung Injury/drug therapy , Amides/pharmacology , Cytokines/metabolism , Ethanolamines/pharmacology , MAP Kinase Signaling System/drug effects , Palmitic Acids/pharmacology , Acute Lung Injury/metabolism , Acute Lung Injury/pathology , Amides/therapeutic use , Animals , Ethanolamines/therapeutic use , Immunohistochemistry , Inflammation/metabolism , Interleukin-18/metabolism , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism , Lipopolysaccharides/administration & dosage , Lipopolysaccharides/toxicity , Macrophages/drug effects , Macrophages/immunology , Male , Mast Cells/drug effects , Mast Cells/pathology , Mice , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1/metabolism , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3/metabolism , NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , Neutrophils/drug effects , Neutrophils/immunology , Palmitic Acids/therapeutic use , Peroxidase/metabolism , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism , p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism