Minimal In Vivo Efficacy of Iminosugars in a Lethal Ebola Virus Guinea Pig Model

Miller, J L and Spiro, S G and Dowall, S D and Taylor, I and Rule, A and Alonzi, D S and Sayce, A C and Wright, E and Bentley, E M and Thom, R and Hall, G and Dwek, R A and Hewson, R and Zitzmann, N (2016) Minimal In Vivo Efficacy of Iminosugars in a Lethal Ebola Virus Guinea Pig Model. PLoS One, 11 (11). e0167018.

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Abstract

The antiviral properties of iminosugars have been reported previously in vitro and in small animal models against Ebola virus (EBOV); however, their effects have not been tested in larger animal models such as guinea pigs. We tested the iminosugars N-butyl-deoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ) and N-(9-methoxynonyl)-1deoxynojirimycin (MON-DNJ) for safety in uninfected animals, and for antiviral efficacy in animals infected with a lethal dose of guinea pig adapted EBOV. 1850 mg/kg/day NB-DNJ and 120 mg/kg/day MON-DNJ administered intravenously, three times daily, caused no adverse effects and were well tolerated. A pilot study treating infected animals three times within an 8 hour period was promising with 1 of 4 infected NB-DNJ treated animals surviving and the remaining three showing improved clinical signs. MON-DNJ showed no protective effects when EBOV-infected guinea pigs were treated. On histopathological examination, animals treated with NB-DNJ had reduced lesion severity in liver and spleen. However, a second study, in which NB-DNJ was administered at equally-spaced 8 hour intervals, could not confirm drug-associated benefits. Neither was any antiviral effect of iminosugars detected in an EBOV glycoprotein pseudotyped virus assay. Overall, this study provides evidence that NB-DNJ and MON-DNJ do not protect guinea pigs from a lethal EBOV-infection at the dose levels and regimens tested. However, the one surviving animal and signs of improvements in three animals of the NB-DNJ treated cohort could indicate that NB-DNJ at these levels may have a marginal beneficial effect. Future work could be focused on the development of more potent iminosugars.

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