Anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of tanshinone IIA, carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid, salvianolic acid, baicalein, and glycyrrhetinic acid between computational and in vitro insights.

PMID: RSC Adv. 2021 Sep 1; 11 (47): 29267-29286. Epub 2021 Sep 1. PMID: 35492070 Abstract Title: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of tanshinone IIA, carnosic acid, rosmarinic acid, salvianolic acid, baicalein, and glycyrrhetinic acid between computational andinsights. Abstract: Six compounds namely, tanshinone IIA (1), carnosic acid (2), rosmarinic acid (3), salvianolic acid B (4), baicalein (5), and glycyrrhetinic acid (6) were screened for their anti-SARS- CoV-2 activities against both the spike (S) and main protease (Mpro) receptors using molecular docking studies. Molecular docking recommended the superior affinities of both salvianolic acid B (4) and glycyrrhetinic acid (6) as the common results from the previously published computational articles. On the other hand, their actual anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities were tested plaque reduction assay to calculate their ICvalues ​​after measuring their CCvalues ​​using MTT assay on Vero E6 cells. Surprisingly, tanshinone IIA (1) was the most promising member with ICequals 4.08 ng. Also, both carnosic acid (2) and rosmarinic acid (3) showed promising ICvalues ​​of 15.37 and 25.47 ngμl, respectively. However, salvianolic acid (4) showed a weak anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity with an ICvalue equals 58.29 ng. Furthermore, molecular dynamics simulations for 100 ns were performed for the most active compound from the computational point of view (salvianolic acid 4), besides, the most active one biologically (tanshinone IIA 1) on both the S and Mpro complexes of them (four different molecular dynamics processes) to confirm the docking results and give more insights regarding the stability of both compounds inside the SARS-CoV-2 mentioned receptors, respectively. Also, to understand the mechanism of action for the tested compounds towards SARS-CoV-2 inhibition it was necessary to examine the mode of action for the most two promising compounds, tanshinone IIA (1) and carnosic acid (2). Both compounds (1 and 2) showed very promising virucidal activity with a most prominent inhibitory effect on viral adsorption rather than its replication. This recommended the predicted activity of the two compounds against the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 rather than its Mpro protein. Our results could be very promising to rearrange the previously mentioned compounds based on their actual inhibitory activities towards SARS-CoV-2 and to search for the reasons behind the great differences between theirandresults against SARS-CoV-2. Finally, we recommend further advanced preclinical and clinical studies especially for tanshinone IIA (1) to be rapidly applied in COVID-19 management either alone or in combination with carnosic acid (2), rosmarinic acid (3), and / or salvianolic acid ( 4).

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