Synergistic combination of N-acetylcysteine and ribavirin to protect from lethal influenza viral infection in a mouse model.
Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2004 Jan-Apr;17(1):99-102. PMID: 15000873
Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary damage during viral infections. In a previous study we observed a significant improvement of survival of influenza-infected mice with NAC, 1g/kg divided in two daily administrations, for 8 days including a pretreatment on day 1 before infection. In order to test NAC in a more realistic model, we studied the effect of combined treatment with NAC and the antiviral drug, ribavirin. Since in the present work we wanted to test a possible synergistic effect by combination of NAC and ribavirin, we used a different NAC's treatment regimen (1 g/kg, once a day for 4 days) that, alone, did not significantly protect mice from death. Mice (12 per group) infected intranasally with a lethal dose of influenza A virus APR/8. NAC was given as a single daily dose of 1000 mg/kg starting from 4 h after infection and until day 4 after infection, in association with ribavirin (100 mg/kg, i.p.). End-point evaluation was 14-day survival. With this schedule survival in infected mice was 17%, it was not significantly changed by NAC (25%). Survival increased to 58% with ribavirin and to 92% (n=12) with a combined treatment with ribavirin and NAC. This suggest that antioxidant therapy can increase survival by either improving the defenses against virus or by protecting from the pathogenesis of lung inflammation.