On analyzing the results of cell-based assays, we have previously shown that perilla (Perilla frutescens) leaf extract (PLE), a food supplement and orally deliverable traditional Chinese medicine approved by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration, effectively inhibits SARS-CoV-2 by directly targeting virions. PLE was also found to modulate virus-induced cytokine expression levels. In this study, we explored the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of PLE in a hamster model by examining viral loads and virus-induced immunopathology in lung tissues. Experimental animals were intranasally challenged with different SARS-CoV-2 doses. Jugular blood samples and lung tissue specimens were obtained in the acute disease stage (3−4 post-infection days). As expected, SARS-CoV-2 induced lung inflammation and hemorrhagic effusions in the alveoli and perivascular areas; additionally, it increased the expression of several immune markers of lung injury − including lung Ki67-positive cells, Iba-1-positive macrophages, and myeloperoxidase-positive neutrophils. Virus-induced lung alterations were significantly attenuated by orally administered PLE. In addition, pretreatment of hamsters with PLE significantly reduced viral loads and immune marker expression. A purified active fraction of PLE was found to confer higher antiviral protection. Notably, PLE prevented SARS-CoV-2-induced increase in serum markers of liver and kidney function as well as the decrease in serum high-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels in a dose-dependent fashion. Differently from lung pathology, monitoring of serum biomarkers in Syrian hamsters may allow a more humane assessment of the novel drugs with potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. Our results expand prior research by confirming that PLE may exert an in vivo therapeutic activity against SARS-CoV-2 by attenuating viral loads and lung tissue inflammation, which may pave the way for future clinical applications.
Chin, Yuan-Fan; Tang, Wen-Fan; Chang, Yu-Hsiu; Chang, Tein-Yao; Lin, Wen-Chin; Lin, Chia-Yi; Yang, Chuen-Mi; Wu, Hsueh-Ling; Li, Ping-Cheng; Sun, Jun-Ren; Hsu, Shu-Chen; Lee, Chia-Ying; Lu, Hsuan-Ying; Chang, Jia-Yu; Jheng, Jia-Rong; Chen, Cheng Cheung; Kau, Jyh-Hwa; Huang, Chih-Heng; Chiu, Cheng-Hsun; Hung, Yi-Jen; Tsai, Hui-Ping; and Horng, Jim-Tong
"Orally delivered perilla (Perilla frutescens) leaf extract effectively inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection in a Syrian hamster model,"
Journal of Food and Drug Analysis: Vol. 30
, Article 6.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.38212/2224-6614.3412
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