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Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) is a major heart pathogen against which no therapy exists to date. The potential of a combination treatment consisting of a proteinaceous virus receptor trap and an RNA interference-based component to prevent CVB3-induced myocarditis was investigated.
A soluble variant of the extracellular domain of the coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (sCAR-Fc) was expressed from an adenoviral vector and 2 short hairpin RNAs (shRdRp2.4) directed against CVB3 were delivered by an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector. Cell culture experiments revealed additive antiviral activity of the combined application. In a CVB3-induced mouse myocarditis model, both components applied individually significantly reduced inflammation and viral load in the heart. The combination exerted an additive antiviral effect and reduced heart pathology. Hemodynamic measurement revealed that infection with CVB3 resulted in impaired heart function, as illustrated by a drastically reduced cardiac output and impaired contractility and relaxation. Treatment with either sCAR-Fc or shRdRp2.4 significantly improved these parameters. Importantly, the combination of both components led to a further significant improvement of heart function.
Combination of sCAR-Fc and shRdRp2.4 exerted additive effects and was significantly more effective than either of the single treatments in inhibiting CVB3-induced myocarditis and preventing cardiac dysfunction.