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Quercetin inhibits rhinovirus replication in vitro and in vivo

Ganesan S, Faris AN, Comstock AT, Wang Q, Nanua S, Hershenson MB, et al. Quercetin inhibits rhinovirus replication in vitro and in vivo. Antiviral Research 2012;94(3):258–71.

Rhinovirus (RV), which is responsible for the majority of common colds, also causes exacerbations in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. So far, there are no drugs available for treatment of rhinovirus infection. We examined the effect of quercetin, a plant flavanol on RV infection in vitro and in vivo. Pretreatment of airway epithelial cells with quercetin decreased Akt phosphosphorylation, viral endocytosis and IL-8 responses. Addition of quercetin 6h after RV infection (after viral endocytosis) reduced viral load, IL-8 and IFN responses in airway epithelial cells. This was associated with decreased levels of negative and positive strand viral RNA, and RV capsid protein, abrogation of RV-induced eIF4GI cleavage and increased phosphorylation of eIF2α. In mice infected with RV, quercetin treatment decreased viral replication as well as expression of chemokines and cytokines. Quercetin treatment also attenuated RV-induced airway cholinergic hyperresponsiveness. Together, our results suggest that quercetin inhibits RV endocytosis andreplication in airway epithelial cells at multiple stages of the RV life cycle. Quercetin also decreases expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and improves lung function in RV-infected mice. Based on these observations, further studies examining the potential benefits of quercetin in the prevention and treatment of RV infection are warranted.