Effects of antiviral drug therapy on dynamic thiol/disulphide homeostasis and nitric oxide levels in COVID-19 patients.
European journal of pharmacology. 2021;:174306
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has led to a serious global pandemic. Although an oxidative stress imbalance occurs in COVID-19 patients, the contributions of thiol/disulphide homeostasis and nitric oxide (NO) generation to the pathogenesis of COVID-19 have been poorly identified. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of antiviral drug therapy on the serum dynamics of thiol/disulphide homeostasis and NO levels in COVID-19 patients. A total of 50 adult patients with COVID-19 and 43 sex-matched healthy control subjects were enrolled in this prospective study. Venous blood samples were collected immediately on admission to the hospital within 24 h after the diagnosis (pre-treatment) and at the 15th day of drug therapy (post-treatment). Serum native thiol and total thiol levels were measured, and the amounts of dynamic disulphide bonds and related ratios were calculated. The average pre-treatment total and native thiol levels were significantly lower than the post-treatment values (P < 0.001 for all). We observed no significant changes in disulphide levels or disulphide/total thiol, disulphide/native thiol, or native thiol/total thiol ratios between pre- and post-treatments. There was also a significant increase in serum NO levels in the pre-treatment values when compared to control (P < 0.001) and post-treatment measurements (P < 0.01). Our results strongly suggest that thiol/disulphide homeostasis and nitrosative stress can contribute to the pathogenesis of COVID-19. This study was the first to show that antiviral drug therapy can prevent the depletion in serum thiol levels and decrease serum NO levels in COVID-19 patients.
Use of Thiols in the Treatment of COVID-19: Current Evidence.
There is a possible role for oxidative stress, a state characterized by an altered balance between the production of free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant defences, in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the genesis of which is quite complex. Excessive oxidative stress could be responsible for the alveolar damage, thrombosis, and red blood cell dysregulation observed in COVID-19. Apparently, deficiency of glutathione (GSH), a low-molecular-weight thiol that is the most important non-enzymatic antioxidant molecule and has the potential to keep the cytokine storm in check, is a plausible explanation for the severe manifestations and death in COVID-19 patients. Thiol drugs, which are considered mucolytic, also possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They exhibit antibacterial activity against a variety of medically important bacteria and may be an effective strategy against influenza virus infection. The importance of oxidative stress during COVID-19 and the various pharmacological characteristics of thiol-based drugs suggest a possible role of thiols in the treatment of COVID-19. Oral and intravenous GSH, as well as GSH precursors such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC), or drugs containing the thiol moiety (erdosteine) may represent a novel therapeutic approach to block NF-kB and address the cytokine storm syndrome and respiratory distress observed in COVID-19 pneumonia patients.