[Source: Pharmacological Research, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
Pharmacological Research | Volume 158, August 2020, 104901 | Pharmacological Research | Review
Anti-malarial drug, artemisinin and its derivatives for the treatment of respiratory diseases
Dorothy H.J. Cheong a, Daniel W.S. Tan b, Fred W.S. Wong b,c,d, Thai Tran a
a Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 117593, Singapore; b Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 117600, Singapore; c Immunology Program, Life Science Institute, National University of Singapore, 117456, Singapore; d Singapore-HUJ Alliance for Research and Enterprise, National University of Singapore, 138602, Singapore
Received 27 March 2020, Revised 5 May 2020, Accepted 6 May 2020, Available online 13 May 2020.
Artemisinins are sesquiterpene lactones with a peroxide moiety that are isolated from the herb Artemisia annua. It has been used for centuries for the treatment of fever and chills, and has been recently approved for the treatment of malaria due to its endoperoxidase properties. Progressively, research has found that artemisinins displayed multiple pharmacological actions against inflammation, viral infections, and cell and tumour proliferation, making it effective against diseases. Moreover, it has displayed a relatively safe toxicity profile. The use of artemisinins against different respiratory diseases has been investigated in lung cancer models and inflammatory-driven respiratory disorders. These studies revealed the ability of artemisinins in attenuating proliferation, inflammation, invasion, and metastasis, and in inducing apoptosis. Artemisinins can regulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), promote cell cycle arrest, drive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and induce Bak or Bax-dependent or independent apoptosis. In this review, we aim to provide a comprehensive update of the current knowledge of the effects of artemisinins in relation to respiratory diseases to identify gaps that need to be filled in the course of repurposing artemisinins for the treatment of respiratory diseases. In addition, we postulate whether artemisinins can also be repurposed for the treatment of COVID-19 given its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Antivirals; Artemisin.