ACE2: from Vasopeptidase to SARS Virus Receptor

The zinc metallopeptidase angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the only known human homologue of the key regulator of blood pressure angiotensin-converting

enzyme (ACE). Since its discovery in 2000, ACE2 has been implicated in heart function, hypertension and diabetes, with its effects being mediated, in part,

through its ability to convert angiotensin II to angiotensin-(1–7). Unexpectedly, ACE2 also serves as the cellular entry point for the severe acute respiratory

syndrome (SARS) virus and the enzyme is therefore a prime target for pharmacological intervention on several disease fronts.

A New Shield for a Cytokine Storm

Highly virulent influenza virus infection results in excessive cytokine production, recruitment of leukocytes, and immune-mediated pulmonary injury. Teijaro et al. (2011) now demonstrate that sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 ligands suppress all features of flu-inflicted pathological inflammation and place the endothelium at the center of this regulatory network.

Role of lopinavir/ritonavir in the treatment of SARS: initia

In vitro antiviral activity against SARS associated coronavirus was demonstrated for lopinavir and ribavirin at concentrations of 4 mg/ml and 50 mg/ml, respectively, only at 48 hours. The adverse clinical outcome (ARDS or death) was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the historical controls (2.4% v 28.8%, p,0.001) at day 21 after the onset of symptoms. The adverse outcome remained significantly lower in the treatment group than in the controls—both those diagnosed early (p,0.001) and those diagnosed later in the course of the epidemic (p = 0.002)—but there was no significant difference in adverse outcome rates between the two time periods (p = 0.548). No time related difference in outcome was observed in the control groups. A reduction in steroid usage and nosocomial infections was seen in patients initially treated with lopinavir/ritonavir, and these patients had a decreasing viral load and rising peripheral lymphocyte count. Multivariate analysis showed that age, hepatitis B carrier status, and lack of treatment with this antiviral combination were independent predictors of an adverse outcome. Lopinavir/ritonavir treatment was associated with a better outcome even when adjusted for baseline lactate dehydrogenase level.

Photobiomodulation therapy improves both inflammatory and fi

Lung fibrosis (LF) is a chronic and progressive lung disease characterized by pulmonary parenchyma progressive lesion, inflammatory infiltration, and interstitial

fibrosis. It is developed by excessive collagen deposition and other cellular matrix components, resulting in severe changes in the alveolar architecture. Considering the absence of effective treatment, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) on the development of LF. For this purpose, we used C57BL6 mice subjected to induction of LF by bleomycin administration (1.5 U/kg) by orotracheal route and, after 14 days of the induction, mice were treated with PBMT applied to the thorax 1×/day for 8 days (wavelength 660 ± 20 nm, power 100 mW, radiant exposure 5 J/cm2, irradiance 33.3 mW/cm2, spot size 2.8cm2, total

energy 15 J, time of irradiation: 150 s) and inflammatory and fibrotic parameters were evaluated with or without PBMT. Our results showed that PBMT significantly reduced the number of inflammatory cells in the alveolar space, collagen production, interstitial thickening, and static and dynamic pulmonary elastance. In addition, we observed reduced levels of IL-6 e CXCL1/KC released by pneumocytes in culture as well as reduced level of CXCL1/KC released by fibroblasts in culture. We can conclude that the PBMT improves both inflammatory and fibrotic parameters showing a promising therapy which is economical and has no side effects.

Delipidated Retroviruses as Potential Autologous Therapeutic

This pilot experiment in a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) chronic infection model aimed at extending our previous findings that vaccination with delipidated SIV resulted in more potent and diversified antiviral responses (1). Macaques chronically infected with SIVmac239 treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) were vaccinated with autologous delipidated virus via consecutive lymph node targeted immunizations-1, 1 and 10 lg of virus spaced monthly. Results showed all animals had lasting viral load reduction approaching 1 log compared to set-point, and disease delay. Delipidation may enhance processing/ presentation of viral antigen eliciting potent antiviral control even at such late infection stage.