Instant determination of the artemisinin from various Artemisia annua L. extracts by LC-ESI-MS/MS and their in-silico modelling and in vitro antiviral activity studies against SARS-CoV-2.

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Dogan, Kubra
Erol, Ebru
Didem Orhan, Muge
Degirmenci, Zehra
Kan, Tugce
Gungor, Aysen
Yasa, Belkis
Avsar, Timucin
Cetin, Yuksel
Durdagi, Serdar
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Numerous efforts in natural product drug development are reported for the treatment of Coronavirus. Based on the literature, among these natural plants Artemisia annua L. shows some promise for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.
The main objective of our study was to determine artemisinin content by liquid chromatography electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS), to investigate the in vitro biological activity of artemisinin from the A. annua plants grown in Turkey with various extracted methods, to elaborate in silico activity against SARS-CoV-2 using molecular modelling.
Twenty-one different extractions were applied. Direct and sequential extractions studies were compared with ultrasonic assisted maceration, Soxhlet, and ultra-rapid determined artemisinin active molecules by LC-ESI-MS/MS methods. The inhibition of spike protein and main protease (3CL) enzyme activity of SARS-CoV-2 virus was assessed by time resolved fluorescence energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay.
Artemisinin content in the range 0.062-0.066%. Artemisinin showed significant inhibition of 3CL protease activity but not Spike/ACE-2 binding. The 50% effective concentration (EC ) of artemisinin against SARS-CoV-2 Spike pseudovirus was found greater than 50 μM (EC ) in HEK293T cell line whereas the cell viability was 94% of the control (P < 0.01). The immunosuppressive effects of artemisinin on TNF-α production on both pseudovirus and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced THP-1 cells were found significant in a dose dependent manner.
Further studies of these extracts for COVID-19 treatment will shed light to seek alternative treatment options. Moreover, these natural extracts can be used as an additional treatment option with medicines, as well as prophylactic use can be very beneficial for patients.
Artemisia annua SARS-CoV-2, LC-ESI-MS/MS, antiviral activity, natural products for COVID-19
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