Background The immunomodulatory drug leflunomide (LEF) is frequently used for treating human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), but its antiviral mechanism is still unclear.
Objectives In this study,we therefore investigated the effects of the active LEF metabolite A771726 on the HCMV lifecycle in human embryonic lung fibroblasts. We clarified the mechanism of LEF antiviral infection, and provide a new way to treat immune dysfunction patients with HCMV infection.
Methods The experiment was divided into four groups:the control group, the HCMV group, the ganciclovir + HCMV group as well as the LEF + HCMV group. MTT was usedfor assessmentof the cell inhibitory rate. Apoptosis was measured by staining with fluoresceinisothiocyanate Annexin V and propidium iodide. Statistical significance was determined by paired t-test using SPSS software.
Results The results of the study showed that cell proliferation was significantly inhibited by HCMV at 24 hours and 48 hours. With increasing HCMV concentration, the value-added inhibition of the cells was significantly decreased compared with the control group, and was statistically significant (P<0.01). Ganciclovir can increase proliferation of cellsinfected with HCMV;compared with the control group it was statistically significant (P<0.05). Meanwhile,with LEF treatment cell proliferation was significantly improved at 24 hours and 48 hours, with statistical significance (P<0.05). The apoptosis rate of human embryonic lung fibroblasts infected with HCMV increased significantly at 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours,and as time goes on the apoptosis rate increases statistically significantly (P<0.01) compared with the control group The apoptosis rate of theHCMV infection group decreased by adding LEF,and was statistically significant (P<0.05).
Conclusions In this studywe show that LEF is an exciting new drug for cytomegalovirus infection. LEF significantly inhibited HCMV infection-induced apoptosis and proliferation, playing an important role in the treatment of patients infected by HCMV. In this study we explored the potential usefulness of LEF for cytomegalovirus infection and found it to be a cost-effective new treatment for cytomegalovirus infection that deserves further study.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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