Antiviral agents with different mechanisms of action could induce synergistic effects against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Some reports suggest the therapeutic potential of the heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) enzyme against virus infection. Given that hemin is a natural inducer of the HO-1 gene, the aim of this study was to develop an in vitro assay to analyze the antiviral potency of hemin against SARS-CoV-2 infection. A SARS-CoV-2 infectivity assay was conducted in Vero-E6 and Calu-3 epithelial cell lines. The antiviral effect of hemin, and chloroquine as a control, against SARS-CoV-2 virus infection was quantified by RT-qPCR using specific oligonucleotides for the N gene. Chloroquine induced a marked reduction of viral genome copies in kidney epithelial Vero-E6 cells but not in lung cancer Calu-3 cells. Hemin administration to the culture medium induced a high induction in the expression of the HO-1 gene that was stronger in Vero-E6 macaque-derived cells than in the human Calu-3 cell line. However, hemin treatment did not modify SARS-CoV-2 replication, as measured by viral genome quantification 48 h post-infection for Vero-E6 and 72 h post-infection for the Calu-3 lineages. In conclusion, although exposure to hemin induced strong HO-1 up-regulation, this effect was unable to inhibit or delay the progression of SARS-CoV-2 infection in two epithelial cell lines susceptible to infection.El texto completo de este artículo está disponible en PDF.
El texto completo de este artículo está disponible en PDF.
Antiviral potency of hemin against SARS-CoV-2 infection was assayed in vitro.
Hemin induced Heme Oxygenase-1 expression in Vero-E6 and Calu-3 epithelial cells.
Anti-inflammatory/oxidant activities of hemin products may reduce viral replication.
Hemin showed no antiviral effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection in cells.
Keywords : SARS-CoV-2 infection, Antiviral effect, Heme oxygenase-1 induction, Hemin