Sangju Cold Granule exerts anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activities against influenza A virus in vitro and in vivo


J Ethnopharmacol. 2024 Jul 3:118521. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2024.118521. Online ahead of print.


ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Sangju Cold Granule (SJCG) is a classical traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) prescription described in “Item Differentiation of Warm Febrile Diseases”. Historically, SJCG was employed to treat respiratory illnesses. Despite its popular usage, the alleviating effect of SJCG on influenza A virus infection and its mechanisms have not been fully elucidated.

AIM OF THE STUDY: Influenza is a severe respiratory disease that threatens human health. This study aims to assess the therapeutic potential of SJCG and the possible molecular mechanism underlying its activity against influenza A virus in vitro and in vivo.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC)-Q-Exactive was used to identify the components of SJCG. The 50% cytotoxic concentration of SJCG in MDCK and A549 cells were determined using the CCK-8 assay. The activity of SJCG against influenza A virus H1N1 was evaluated in vitro using cytopathic effect inhibition and progeny virus titer reduction assays. RT-qPCR was performed to obtain the expression levels of inflammatory mediators and the transcriptional regulation of RIG-I and MDA5 in H1N1-infected A549 cells. Then, the mechanism of SJCG effect on viral replication and inflammation was further explored by measuring the expressions of proteins of the RIG-I/NF-kB/IFN(I/III) signaling pathway by western blot. The impact of SJCG was explored in vivo in an intranasally H1N1-infected BALB/c mouse pneumonia model treated with varying doses of SJCG. The protective role of SJCG in this model was evaluated by survival, body weight monitoring, lung viral titers, lung index, lung histological changes, lung inflammatory mediators, and peripheral blood leukocyte count.

RESULTS: The main SJCG chemical constituents were flavonoids, carbohydrates and glycosides, amino acids, peptides, and derivatives, organic acids and derivatives, alkaloids, fatty acyls, and terpenes. The CC50 of SJCG were 24.43 mg/mL on MDCK cells and 20.54 mg/mL on A549 cells, respectively. In vitro, SJCG significantly inhibited H1N1 replication and reduced the production of TNF-α, IFN-β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-13, IP-10, RANTES, TRAIL, and SOCS1 in infected A549 cells. Intracellularly, SJCG reduced the expression of RIG-I, MDA5, P-NF-κB P65 (P-P65), P-IκBα, P-STAT1, P-STAT2, and IRF9. In vivo, SJCG enhanced the survival rate and decreased body weight loss in H1N1-infected mice. Mice with H1N1-induced pneumonia treated with SJCG showed a lower lung viral load and lung index than untreated mice. SJCG effectively alleviated lung damage and reduced the levels of TNF-α, IFN-β, IL-6, IP-10, RANTES, and SOCS1 in lung tissue. Moreover, SJCG significantly ameliorated H1N1-induced leukocyte changes in peripheral blood.

CONCLUSIONS: SJCG significantly reduced influenza A virus and virus-mediated inflammation through inhibiting the RIG-I/NF-kB/IFN(I/III) signaling pathway. Thus, SJCG could provide an effective TCM for influenza treatment.

PMID:38969152 | DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2024.118521