Sumary of Drugs that mimic effects of cigarette smoke could become a potential tool to fight COVID-19:
- Researchers have identified two drugs that mimic the effect of chemicals in cigarette smoke to bind to a receptor in mammalian cells that inhibits production of ACE2 proteins, a process that appears to reduce the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter the cell.
- “But the mechanism we discovered here is worth further investigation as a potential tool to fight SARS-CoV-2 infections.
- ” It is known that cigarette smoke contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
- These can bind to and activate aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AHRs).
- AHRs are a type of receptor inside of mammalian cells that is in turn a transcription factor — something that can induce a wide range of cellular activities through its ability to increase or decrease the expressionof certain genes.
- Knowing this about the relationship between PAHs and AHRs, the researchers wanted to investigate the effect of drugs that activate AHR on expression of the genes that control production of the ACE2 protein — the infamous receptor protein on the surface of many cells types that works like a lock that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is able to pick.
- First, the scientists investigated various cell lines to examine their gene expression levels of ACE2. They found that those cells originating in the oral cavity, lungs and liver had the highest ACE2 expression.
- Related StoriesThese high-ACE2-expression cells were then subjected to various doses of cigarette-smoke extract (CSE) for 24 hours.