Mycophenolic Acid for Treatment of Rotavirus Infection in Transplant Patients

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Based on 2D and 3D in vitro models, treatment with mycophenolic acid (MPA), an inhibitor of the type II isoform of inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH), confers very high levels of drug resistant rotavirus viral replication suppression and may therefore be a useful immunosuppressive agent for preventing rotavirus infection in transplantation patients, according to the results of a study published recently in Antiviral Research1.

Following organ transplantation, immunosuppressant drugs are administered as a matter of routine in order to prevent graft rejection. Unfortunately, immunosuppression in general increases susceptibility to infection with rotavirus, a leading cause of gastroenteritis. At present, only the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporine A has been shown to inhibit rotavirus replication in experimental models.2 The direct effects of other types of immunosuppressants on rotavirus infection have not been elucidated to date.

First author Yuebang Yin, Msc, a PhD student in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Erasmus MC-University Medical Center in Rotterdam, and his colleagues addressed this unexplored topic. The stated objectives of the study were, “… to comprehensively profile the effects and mode-of-action of different types of immunosuppressants on rotavirus including corticosteroids (prednisolone [Pred] and dexamethasone [Dex]), calcineurin inhibitors (CsA and tacrolimus [FK506]) and selective antiproliferative agents (e.g., MPA).”

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