Antiviral effects of small interfering RNA simultaneously inducing RNA interference and type 1 interferon in coxsackievirus myocarditis

Jeonghyun Ahn, Ara Ko, Eun Jung Jun, Minah Won, Yoo Kyum Kim, Eun Seon Ju, Eun Seok Jeon, Heuiran Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Antiviral therapeutics are currently unavailable for treatment of coxsackievirus B3, which can cause life-threatening myocarditis. A modified small interfering RNA (siRNA) containing 5′-triphosphate, 3p-siRNA, was shown to induce RNA interference and interferon activation. We aimed to develop a potent antiviral treatment using CVB3-specific 3p-siRNA and to understand its underlying mechanisms. Virus-specific 3p-siRNA was superior to both conventional virus-specific siRNA with an empty hydroxyl group at the 5′ end (OH-siRNA) and nonspecific 3p-siRNA in decreasing viral replication and subsequent cytotoxicity. A single administration of 3p-siRNA dramatically attenuated virus-associated pathological symptoms in mice with no signs of toxicity, and their body weights eventually reached the normal range. Myocardial inflammation and fibrosis were rare, and virus production was greatly reduced. A nonspecific 3p-siRNA showed relatively less protective effect under identical conditions, and a virus-specific OH-siRNA showed no protective effects. We confirmed that virus-specific 3p-siRNA simultaneously activated target-specific gene silencing and type I interferon signaling. We provide a clear proof of concept that coxsackievirus B3-specific 3p-siRNA has 2 distinct modes of action, which significantly enhance antiviral activities with minimal organ damage. This is the first direct demonstration of improved antiviral effects with an immunostimulatory virus-specific siRNA in coxsackievirus myocarditis, and this method could be applied to many virus-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3516-3523
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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