Chenodeoxycholic acid from bile inhibits influenza A virus replication via blocking nuclear export of viral ribonucleoprotein complexes Academic Article uri icon


  • Influenza A virus (IAV) infection is still a major global threat for humans, especially for the risk groups: young children and the elderly. The currently licensed antiviral drugs target viral factors and are prone to viral resistance. In recent years, a few endogenous small molecules from host, such as estradiol and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-derived lipid mediator protection D1 (PD1), were demonstrated to be capable of inhibiting IAV infection. Chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA), one of the main primary bile acids, is synthesized from cholesterol in the liver and classically functions in emulsification and absorption of dietary fats. Clinically, CDCA has been used in the treatment of patients with cholesterol gallstones for more than five decades. In this study, we showed that CDCA attenuated the replication of three subtypes of influenza A virus, including a highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, in A549 and MDCK cell cultures with IC50 ranging from 5.5 to 11.5 μM. Mechanistically, CDCA effectively restrained the nuclear export of viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complexes. In conclusion, as an endogenous physiological small molecule, CDCA can inhibit IAV replication in vitro, at least in part, by blocking vRNP nuclear export, and affords further studies for development as a potential antiviral agent against IAV infections.

publication date

  • 2018