The effect of a low concentration of hypochlorous acid on rhinovirus infection of nasal epithelial cells

Am J Rhinol Allergy. Jan-Feb 2011;25(1):40-4. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2011.25.3545.


Background: Low concentrations of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) have been shown to exhibit both antibacterial and anti-influenza virus activity, but HOCl still has not been used to kill human rhinovirus (HRV). To model the antiviral effect of nasal irrigation with low-level HOCl in patients with the common cold, we tested the effects of a low concentration of HOCl on HRV infection of primary human nasal epithelial cells (HNEC).

Methods: Cells were infected with HRV for 24 hours and treated with HOCl three times, for 5 minutes each time, at 12 hour intervals. The effects of HOCl on rhinovirus-induced secretion of IL-6 and IL-8 were assessed by ELISA and HRV replication was determined by viral titration.

Results: HOCl treatment significantly inhibited HRV-induced secretion of IL-6 and IL-8 and significantly reduced viral titer. The effects of HOCl peaked at 1 minute after HOCl generation and decreased thereafter.

Conclusion: These in vitro findings indicate that nasal irrigation with low-level HOCl solution may improve clinical symptoms in patients with the common cold.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electric Impedance
  • Humans
  • Hypochlorous Acid / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-8 / genetics
  • Interleukin-8 / immunology
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism*
  • Nasal Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Nasal Mucosa / immunology
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nasal Mucosa / pathology
  • Nasal Mucosa / virology
  • Picornaviridae Infections / drug therapy*
  • Picornaviridae Infections / immunology
  • Picornaviridae Infections / pathology
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Rhinovirus / pathogenicity
  • Rhinovirus / physiology*
  • Viral Load / drug effects


  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • Hypochlorous Acid