Targeting the endolysosomal host-SARS-CoV-2 interface by clinically licensed functional inhibitors of acid sphingomyelinase (FIASMA) including the antidepressant fluoxetine
EMERGING MICROBES & INFECTIONS
Authors: Schloer, Sebastian; Brunotte, Linda; Goretzko, Jonas; Mecate-Zambrano, Angeles; Korthals, Nadia; Gerke, Volker; Ludwig, Stephan; Rescher, Ursula
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Related Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a global health emergency. As only very limited therapeutic options are clinically available, there is an urgent need for the rapid development of safe, effective, and globally available pharmaceuticals that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry and ameliorate COVID-19 severity. In this study, we explored the use of small compounds acting on the homeostasis of the endolysosomal host-pathogen interface, to fight SARS-CoV-2 infection. We find that fluoxetine, a widely used antidepressant and a functional inhibitor of acid sphingomyelinase (FIASMA), efficiently inhibited the entry and propagation of SARS-CoV-2 in the cell culture model without cytotoxic effects and also exerted potent antiviral activity against two currently circulating influenza A virus subtypes, an effect which was also observed upon treatment with the FIASMAs amiodarone and imipramine. Mechanistically, fluoxetine induced both impaired endolysosomal acidification and the accumulation of cholesterol within the endosomes. As the FIASMA group consists of a large number of small compounds that are well-tolerated and widely used for a broad range of clinical applications, exploring these licensed pharmaceuticals may offer a variety of promising antivirals for host-directed therapy to counteract enveloped viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
Influenza A virus infection induces liver injury in mice
Authors: Zhang, Shouping; Hu, Bin; Xu, Jingfei; Ren, Qiuxuan; Wang, Lirong; Wang, Sanhu
Respiratory infections such as SARS-CoV in humans are often accompanied by mild and self-limiting hepatitis. As a respiratory disease, influenza A virus (IAV) infection can lead to hepatitis, but the mechanism remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of hepatitis by establishing a model for infected mice for three different subtypes of respiratory IAVs (H1N1, H5N1, and H7N2). Histological analysis was performed, and results showed increase serum aminotransferase (ALT and AST) levels and evident liver injury on days 3 and 7, especially on day 5 post infection. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) results indicated a wide distribution of IAV's positive signals in the liver of infected mice. Real-time PCR results further revealed a similar viral titer to IHC that presented a remarkedly positive correlation with histology injury. All these data showed that the mouse model suitably contributed valuable information about the mechanism underlying the occurrence of hepatitis induced by respiratory influenza virus.