Molecular nitric oxide responsible for cell death, inflammation
Researchers in an international collaborative study have identified that the molecule nitric oxide, produced by the caspase-8 protein, causes cell death and inflammation when overproduced. The study by Prof. Daniel Simpson, Prof. James Vince and Dr Rebecca Feltham from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, in collaboration with Monash University, Australian National University, the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Germany’s Cologne University, observed that blocking the activity of caspase-8 and nitric oxide in a preclinical SARS-CoV-2 model reduced the severity of inflammation and infection. The levels of this molecule ramped up when immune cells sensed viral and pathogenic threats. Caspase-8 as a drug target could block excessive cell death and the subsequent inflammatory response, the study concluded.