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A New Butyrate Releaser Exerts a Protective Action against SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Human Intestine

  • paparo;, lorella
Publication Date
Jan 27, 2022
DOI: 10.3390/molecules27030862
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Butyrate is a major gut microbiome metabolite that regulates several defense mechanisms against infectious diseases. Alterations in the gut microbiome, leading to reduced butyrate production, have been reported in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. A new butyrate releaser, useful for all the known applications of butyrate, presenting physiochemical characteristics suitable for easy oral administration, (N-(1-carbamoyl-2-phenyl-ethyl) butyramide (FBA), has been recently developed. We investigated the protective action of FBA against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human small intestine and enterocytes. Relevant aspects of SARS-CoV-2 infection were assessed: infectivity, host functional receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), neuropilin-1 (NRP1), pro-inflammatory cytokines expression, genes involved in the antiviral response and the activation of Nf-kB nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2-like) 2 (Nfr2) pathways. We found that FBA positively modulates the crucial aspects of the infection in small intestinal biopsies and human enterocytes, reducing the expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2 and NRP1, pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-15, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and TNF-α, and regulating several genes involved in antiviral pathways. FBA was also able to reduce the number of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, and ACE2, TMPRSS2 and NRP1 expression. Lastly, through the inhibition of Nf-kB and the up-regulation of Nfr2, it was also able to reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-15, MCP-1 and TNF-α in human enterocytes. The new butyrate releaser, FBA, exerts a preventive action against SARS-CoV-2 infection. It could be considered as an innovative strategy to limit COVID-19.

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