COVID-19 News: Taiwanese Study Finds That Phytochemicals From Anisomeles Indica Suppress The Protein Expression Of ACE2 And TMPRSS2!
: The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has had a profound and enduring impact on the global population. This highly contagious respiratory illness continues to pose a significant threat to public health, creating a pressing need for effective treatments and preventive measures. Recent research has shed light on the pivotal role of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The virus relies on ACE2 to enter human cells and TMPRSS2 to activate its spike protein, and inhibiting the expression of these proteins can be a potential avenue for preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infections.
A groundbreaking study conducted by researchers from China Medical University-Taiwan, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science-Taiwan, Asia University-Taiwan, and Arjil Pharmaceuticals LLC-Taiwan has explored the remarkable potential of Anisomeles indica (L.) Kuntze, a medicinal plant with a rich history in traditional Chinese medicine. Anisomeles indica, known as "yu-jen-tsau," has long been celebrated for its diverse pharmacological properties, including anti-HIV, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. Recent investigations into this plant have revealed its potential as a source of antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor compounds.
Among the active phytochemical constituents of A. indica are ovatodiolide, anisomlic acid, and apigenin, all of which have shown promise in various aspects of healthcare, including antiviral activities.
The Taiwanese study covered in this COVID-19 News
report, delved into the efficacy of ethanolic extracts of A. indica (EEAI) and its constituent compounds in modulating the expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2, both in vitro and in vivo.
The aim of this research was to investigate the potential link between A. indica and the downregulation of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression, ultimately paving the way for strategies in combating COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2, a member of the coronavirus family, possesses a single-stranded RNA structure and exhibits a wide range of infection severity, from mild cold-like symptoms to severe respiratory diseases. The virus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets, which are released into the air when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or talks. Once inside the human body, SARS-CoV-2 infects the respiratory tract, leading to inflammation and impaired lung function. The symptoms of COVID-19 vary from mild to severe, with severe cases often involving breathing difficulties and respiratory failure.
Research indicates that the levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression play a crucial role in the infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2, as these proteins facilitate the virus's entry into host cells.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a vital enzyme in the human body, known for its role in regulating blood pressure and cardiovascular functions. Importantly, ACE2 also serves as a key receptor for SARS-CoV-2, enabling the virus to enter human cells by binding to its spike protein. Transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) is responsible for cle
aving and activating viral proteins on the cell surface, enhancing the virus's entry into host cells. Therefore, reducing the expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 can be a valuable strategy for preventing or treating SARS-CoV-2 infections.
This study examined the potential of A. indica and its constituents in modulating the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2. The results were highly promising, both in in vitro and in vivo experiments. In animal models, the oral administration of A. indica extract EEAI resulted in a significant reduction in the expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the liver, kidneys, and lungs of the mice, as demonstrated by immunohistochemical analysis. These findings were consistently supported by in vitro experiments, which used human cell lines, HepG2 (human hepatocellular carcinoma) and HEK 293T (human embryonic kidney), to examine the effects of A. indica and its constituent compounds.
In vitro experiments using cell cultures have been pivotal in understanding the potential of various compounds in combating SARS-CoV-2. Prior research has revealed the antiviral properties of compounds such as Sambucus nigra, glycyrrhizin, and Schizophyllum commune, which inhibit the interaction of the virus with ACE2 and TMPRSS2. In line with these findings, the current study showed that both HepG2 and HEK 293T cell lines exhibited a significant decrease in the expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 when treated with A. indica extract EEAI.
Furthermore, this study explored the role of specific compounds found in A. indica, including ovatodiolide, anisomelic acid, and apigenin. The results indicated that these compounds, when administered at appropriate dosages, also led to a significant reduction in the expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in both cell lines. These findings further support the potential of A. indica as a valuable tool in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on global public health, with millions of confirmed cases and a substantial death toll. The emergence of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) has added a layer of complexity, with patients experiencing long-term symptoms and complications. The urgent need for effective treatments and prevention strategies cannot be overstated.
This study offers a ray of hope in the fight against COVID-19. Anisomeles indica, a medicinal plant with a rich history in traditional Chinese medicine, has demonstrated its potential to modulate the expression levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2, key factors in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The ethanolic extracts of A. indica and its active compounds, ovatodiolide, anisomelic acid, and apigenin, have shown remarkable efficacy in reducing the levels of these crucial proteins, both in in vitro and in vivo experiments.
These findings underscore the importance of continued research into the potential of A. indica and its constituents as preventive and therapeutic agents against SARS-CoV-2 infection. As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the promise offered by this study provides a beacon of hope, suggesting that natural compounds derived from traditional medicinal plants may hold the key to mitigating the impact of this global health crisis. Further research in this direction is not only warranted but essential in the quest to find effective solutions to combat COVID-19 and safeguard public health on a global scale.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
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