Niu X, Wang H, Zhao L, Lian P, Bai Y, Li J, Qiao J. All-trans retinoic acid increases the pathogenicity of the H9N2 influenza virus in mice. Virol J. 2022 Jun 28;19(1):113
Methods: Mice were infected intranasally with H9N2 virus, and injected intraperitoneally with 0.2 mL of ATRA at low (1 mg/kg), medium (5 or 10 mg/kg), or high therapeutic dose (20 mg/kg), and toxic dose (40, 60, or 80 mg/kg), once per day for 10 days. Clinical signs, survival rates, and lung gross pathology were compared between the ATRA-treated H9N2-infected group, the ATRA group, and the H9N2-infected group, to investigate the effect of different doses of ATRA on the pathogenicity of H9N2 virus. Additionally, the viral load and cytokine concentration of lungs were measured at 3, 5, 7, and 9 days after infection, to investigate the potential mechanism of ATRA in affecting the pathogenicity of the H9N2 virus. Expression levels of cellular retinoic acid-binding protein 1 (CRABP1), cellular retinoic acid-binding protein 2 (CRABP2), and Retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) were detected using Western blotting.
Results: The ATRA-treated H9N2-infected mice showed more severe clinical signs compared with the H9N2-infected group. The medium and high therapeutic doses of ATRA reduced the survival rates, aggravated lung tissue damage, decreased the expression of interferon beta (IFN-β), and increased the concentrations of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) in the lungs of the H9N2-infected mice. At the same time, the expression patterns of CRABP1, CRABP2, and RIG-I were changed in mice infected by H9N2 and treated with different concentrations of ATRA.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the therapeutic dose of ATRA can increase the pathogenicity of the H9N2 virus. Therefore, the consequences of those infected by influenza virus would be more severe after ATRA treatment.
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