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GMI, a fungal immunomodulatory protein, ameliorates SARS-CoV-2 envelope protein-induced inflammation in macrophages via inhibition of MAPK pathway 2023-05-04


Clinically, COVID-19 is often accompanied by a severe immune response (cytokine storm) which produces a large number of cytokines, such as TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-12, and consequently causes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). GMI is a type of fungal immunomodulatory protein that is cloned from Ganoderma microsporum and acts as modulating immunocyte for various inflammatory diseases. This study identifies GMI as a potential anti-inflammatory agent and determines the effects of GMI on the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine secretion. Functional studies showed that SARS-CoV-2 envelope (E) protein induces inflammatory process in murine macrophages RAW264.7 and MH-S cells and in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-stimulated human THP-1 cells. GMI exhibits a strong inhibitory effect for SARS-CoV-2-E-induced pro-inflammatory mediators, including NO, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-12 in macrophages. GMI reduces SARS-CoV-2-E-induced intracellular inflammatory molecules, such as iNOS and COX-2, and inhibits SARS-CoV-2-E-stimulated phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and P38. GMI also downregulates pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in lung tissue and serum after the mice inhale SARS-CoV-2-E protein. In conclusion, this study shows that GMI acts as an agent to alleviate SARS-CoV-2-E-induced inflammation.








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