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Pre-Treatment with Zirconia Nanoparticles Reduces Inflammation Induced by the Pathogenic H5N1 Influenza Virus

Authors Huo C, Xiao J, Xiao K, Zou S, Wang M, Qi P, Liu T, Hu Y

Received 2 July 2019

Accepted for publication 15 January 2020

Published 30 January 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 661—674


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas J. Webster

Caiyun Huo,1 Jin Xiao,2 Kai Xiao,1 Shumei Zou,3 Ming Wang,1,2 Peng Qi,2 Tianlong Liu,4 Yanxin Hu1

1Key Laboratory of Animal Epidemiology of Ministry of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, People’s Republic of China; 2Key Laboratory of Veterinary Bioproduction and Chemical Medicine of the Ministry of Agriculture, Zhongmu Institutes of China Animal Husbandry Industry Co., Ltd, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 3National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, Collaboration Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Key Laboratory for Medical Virology, National Health and Family Planning Commission, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 4Laboratory of Veterinary Pathology and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Yanxin Hu Email
Tianlong Liu Email

Background: New approaches are urgently needed to fight influenza viral infection. Previous research has shown that zirconia nanoparticles can be used as anticancer materials, but their antiviral activity has not been reported. Here, we investigated the antiviral effect of zirconia (ZrO2) nanoparticles (NPs) against a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus.
Materials and Methods: In this study, the antiviral effects of ZrO2 on H5N1 virus were assessed in vivo, and the molecular mechanism responsible for this protection was investigated.
Results: Mice treated with 200 nm positively-charged NPs at a dose of 100 mg/kg showed higher survival rates and smaller reductions in weight. 200 nm ZrO2 activated mature dendritic cells and initially promoted the expression of cytokines associated with the antiviral response and innate immunity. In the lungs of H5N1-infected mice, ZrO2 treatment led to less pathological lung injury, significant reduction in influenza A virus replication, and overexpression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Conclusion: This antiviral study using zirconia NPs shows protection of mice against highly pathogenic avian influenza virus and suggests strong application potential for this method, introducing a new tool against a wide range of microbial infections.

Keywords: avian influenza virus, zirconia nanoparticles, cytokine storm, antiviral effect

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