The results of the study, being published in the September 1 issue of the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science and available online now, have significant implications for the treatment and prevention of eye diseases caused by adenovirus infections, such as conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. Although typically a mild, self-limiting disease in children and adults, newborns are particularly susceptible to pinkeye and can be more prone to serious health complications, even blindness, if it goes untreated. The most common cause of conjunctivitis is adenovirus infection. Unfortunately, current treatments for conjunctivitis are not specifically targeted to the virus, and, presently, there is no FDA-approved therapy for the treatment of adenoviral-mediated eye infections.
In the study, led by Andrea Gambotto, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the researchers investigated the antiviral activity of gamma globulin (Ig) on human “wild-type” adenovirus as well as adenovirus subtypes isolated from patients diagnosed with viral eye infections. Specifically, they investigated the ability of Ig to neutralize these various adenovirus strains in both cell cultures infected with adenovirus and in rabbits with conjunctivitis.
In the cell culture (in vitro) studies, less than 10 milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml) of Ig significantly neutralized all of the wild-type strains of adenovirus, and the same concentration of Ig also neutralized almost 90 percent of the various adenovirus subtypes isolated from patients with eye infections.
In the animal (in vivo) studies using topical Ig, all of the animals tested tolerated the Ig extremely well, without displaying any irritation even at high dosages. More importantly, Ig neutralized adenovirus at least as well as cidofovir, another antiviral drug that proved to be a potent inhibitor of adenovirus eye infections in early trials but was never approved by the FDA due to unacceptable side effects. According to the investigators, Ig was “remarkably effective,” during the early phase of infection (days 1-5) as demonstrated by the significant reduction in daily levels of virus in eye fluids compared to eye fluids obtained from control animals administered only saline.
Although this is the first study to ever demonstrate Ig’s ability to block adenoviral-mediated eye infections, Dr. Gambotto is only slightly surprised by the results. “We use this compound in our laboratory on a regular basis to block the activity of the adenoviruses that we use in gene therapy experiments. So, we were pretty sure it would have some antiviral effects. We were not prepared, however, for it to be effective against so many strains and to demonstrate almost no toxicity,” he explained.
Because conjunctivitis is so contagious, Dr. Gambotto and his investigators believe that topical Ig may be of value in many settings, including ophthalmology units in hospitals, pediatric units, community clinics and in global public health programs. Furthermore, due to its broad spectrum of antimicrobial properties, they believe that topical ocular application of Ig may be effective against other viral and bacterial causes of conjunctivitis.
Jim Swyers | EurekAlert!
Mechanism Discovered to Activate the Immune System against Bacteria and Regulate the Microbiome
13.02.2019 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.
DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.
11.02.2019 | Event News
30.01.2019 | Event News
16.01.2019 | Event News
15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
15.02.2019 | Life Sciences