Cholinergic System and COVID-19: In Silico Evaluation of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Agonists as Potential Therapeutic Interventions.

Δεκ 14, 2020
covid blockers


SARS-CoV-2 infection was announced as a pandemic in March 2020. Since then, several scientists have focused on the low prevalence of smokers among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. These findings led to our hypothesis that the Nicotinic Cholinergic System (NCS) plays a crucial role in the manifestation of COVID-19 and its severe symptoms. Molecular modeling revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein might bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) through a cryptic epitope homologous to snake toxins, substrates well documented and known for their affinity to the nAChRs. This binding model could provide logical explanations for the acute inflammatory disorder in patients with COVID-19, which may be linked to severe dysregulation of NCS. In this study, we present a series of complexes with cholinergic agonists that can potentially prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein from binding to nAChRs, avoiding dysregulation of the NCS and moderating the symptoms and clinical manifestations of COVID-19. If our hypothesis is verified by in vitro and in vivo studies, repurposing agents currently approved for smoking cessation and neurological conditions could provide the scientific community with a therapeutic option in severe COVID-19.

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