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Arch Toxicol ; 95(4): 1179-1226, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384375


Here, we addressed the pharmacology and toxicology of synthetic organoselenium compounds and some naturally occurring organoselenium amino acids. The use of selenium as a tool in organic synthesis and as a pharmacological agent goes back to the middle of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The rediscovery of ebselen and its investigation in clinical trials have motivated the search for new organoselenium molecules with pharmacological properties. Although ebselen and diselenides have some overlapping pharmacological properties, their molecular targets are not identical. However, they have similar anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, possibly, via activation of transcription factors, regulating the expression of antioxidant genes. In short, our knowledge about the pharmacological properties of simple organoselenium compounds is still elusive. However, contrary to our early expectations that they could imitate selenoproteins, organoselenium compounds seem to have non-specific modulatory activation of antioxidant pathways and specific inhibitory effects in some thiol-containing proteins. The thiol-oxidizing properties of organoselenium compounds are considered the molecular basis of their chronic toxicity; however, the acute use of organoselenium compounds as inhibitors of specific thiol-containing enzymes can be of therapeutic significance. In summary, the outcomes of the clinical trials of ebselen as a mimetic of lithium or as an inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 proteases will be important to the field of organoselenium synthesis. The development of computational techniques that could predict rational modifications in the structure of organoselenium compounds to increase their specificity is required to construct a library of thiol-modifying agents with selectivity toward specific target proteins.

Organoselenium Compounds/pharmacology , Organoselenium Compounds/toxicity , Amino Acids/chemistry , Animals , Azoles , Humans , Isoindoles , Molecular Structure , Selenium/chemistry , Selenium/physiology , Selenoproteins/chemistry , Sulfhydryl Compounds/chemistry
Med Hypotheses ; 144: 110128, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-671112


It has been proposed that a degraded immune system is (one of) the condition(s) that predispose certain subjects to fatal consequences from infection by SARS-CoV-2. It is unknown whether therapeutic regimens to which these patients may have been subjected to in the months/years preceding the infection could be immunocompromising. Statins are among the most widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs. As competitive inhibitors of HMG-CoA-reductase, the key enzyme of the "mevalonate pathway" through which essential compounds, not only cholesterol, are synthesized, statins decrease the levels of cholesterol, and thus LDLs, as an innate defense mechanism, with controversial results in decreasing mortality from cardiovascular disease. Moreover, statins have pleiotropic, mostly deleterious effects on many cell types, including immune cells. In the attempt to decipher the enigma of SARS-CoV-2 infectivology, the hypothesis should be tested whether the population of subjects who succumbed to Covid-19 may have developed a compromised immunity at sub-clinical levels and have become more susceptible to fatal consequences from SARS-Cov-2 infection due to statin therapy.

COVID-19/immunology , Mevalonic Acid/chemistry , Oxidation-Reduction , Selenoproteins/chemistry , Cholesterol/metabolism , Cholesterol, LDL/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Humans , Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Immune System , Immunity, Innate , Inflammation , Lipoproteins, LDL/metabolism , Models, Theoretical , Oxidative Stress