Cytokine Storm in Acute Viral Respiratory Injury: Role of Qing-Fei-Pai-Du Decoction in Inhibiting the Infiltration of Neutrophils and Macrophages through TAK1/IKK/NF-[Formula: see text]B Pathway.
Ye X-L., Tian S-S., Tang C-C., Jiang X-R., Liu D., Yang G-Z., Zhang H., Hu Y., Li T-T., Jiang X., Li H-K., Peng Y-C., Zheng N-N., Ge G-B., Liu W., Lv A-P., Wang H-K., Chen H-Z., Ho L-P., Zhang W-D., Zheng Y-J.
COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenges to global public health since its outbreak. The Qing-Fei-Pai-Du decoction (QFPDD), a Chinese herbal formula, is widely used in China to treat COVID-19. It exerts an impressive therapeutic effect by inhibiting the progression from mild to critical disease in the clinic. However, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses elicit similar pathological processes. Their severe manifestations, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multiple organ failure (MOF), and viral sepsis, are correlated with the cytokine storm. During flu infection, QFPDD reduced the lung indexes and downregulated the expressions of MCP-1, TNF-[Formula: see text], IL-6, and IL-1[Formula: see text] in broncho-alveolar lavage fluid (BALF), lungs, or serum samples. The infiltration of neutrophils and inflammatory monocytes in lungs was decreased dramatically, and lung injury was ameliorated in QFPDD-treated flu mice. In addition, QFPDD also inhibited the polarization of M1 macrophages and downregulated the expressions of IL-6, TNF-[Formula: see text], MIP-2, MCP-1, and IP-10, while also upregulating the IL-10 expression. The phosphorylated TAK1, IKK[Formula: see text]/[Formula: see text], and I[Formula: see text]B[Formula: see text] and the subsequent translocation of phosphorylated p65 into the nuclei were decreased by QFPDD. These findings indicated that QFPDD reduces the intensity of the cytokine storm by inhibiting the NF-[Formula: see text]B signaling pathway during severe viral infections, thereby providing theoretical and experimental support for its clinical application in respiratory viral infections.