Restriction of H1N1 influenza virus infection by selenium nanoparticles loaded with ribavirin via resisting caspase-3 apoptotic pathway

Int J Nanomedicine. 2018 Sep 26;13:5787-5797. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S177658. eCollection 2018.


Introduction: Ribavirin (RBV) is a broad-spectrum antiviral drug. Selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) attract much attention in the biomedical field and are used as carriers of drugs in current research studies. In this study, SeNPs were decorated by RBV, and the novel nanoparticle system was well characterized. Madin-Darby Canine Kidney cells were infected with H1N1 influenza virus before treatment with RBV, SeNPs, and SeNPs loaded with RBV (Se@RBV).

Methods and results: MTT assay showed that Se@RBV nanoparticles protect cells during H1N1 infection in vitro. Se@RBV depressed virus titer in the culture supernatant. Intracellular localization detection revealed that Se@RBV accumulated in lysosome and escaped to cytoplasm as time elapsed. Furthermore, activation of caspase-3 was resisted by Se@RBV. Expressions of proteins related to caspase-3, including cleaved poly-ADP-ribose polymerase, caspase-8, and Bax, were downregulated evidently after treatment with Se@RBV compared with the untreated infection group. In addition, phosphorylations of phosphorylated 38 (p38), JNK, and phosphorylated 53 (p53) were inhibited as well. In vivo experiments indicated that Se@RBV was found to prevent lung injury in H1N1-infected mice through hematoxylin and eosin staining. Tunel test of lung tissues present that DNA damage reached a high level but reduced substantially when treated with Se@RBV. Immunohistochemical test revealed an identical result with the in vitro experiment that activations of caspase-3 and proteins on the apoptosis pathway were restrained by Se@RBV treatment.

Conclusion: Taken together, this study elaborates that Se@RBV is a novel promising agent against H1N1 influenza virus infection.

Keywords: H1N1 influenza virus; apoptosis; caspase-3; nanomaterials; rivabirin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dogs
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / drug effects*
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / growth & development
  • Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / drug therapy*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology*
  • Ribavirin / pharmacology
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use*
  • Selenium / pharmacology
  • Selenium / therapeutic use*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Ribavirin
  • Caspase 3
  • Selenium