Antiviral and immunomodulatory activity of silver nanoparticles in experimental rsv infection

Dorothea Morris, Maria Ansar, Janice Speshock, Teodora Ivanciuc, Yue Qu, Antonella Casola, Roberto Garofalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important etiological agent of respiratory infection in children for which no specific treatment option is available. The RSV virion contains two surface glycoproteins (F and G) that are vital for the initial phases of infection, making them critical targets for RSV therapeutics. Recent studies have identified the broad-spectrum antiviral properties of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) against respiratory pathogens, such as adenovirus, parainfluenza, and influenza. AgNPs achieve this by attaching to viral glycoproteins, blocking entry into the host cell. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antiviral and immunomodulatory effects of AgNPs in RSV infection. Herein we demonstrate AgNP-mediated reduction in RSV replication, both in epithelial cell lines and in experimentally infected BALB/c mice. Marked reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e., IL-1α, IL-6, TNF-α) and pro-inflammatory chemokines (i.e., CCL2, CCL3, CCL5) was also observed. Conversely, CXCL1, G-CSF, and GM-CSF were increased in RSV-infected mice treated with AgNPs, consistent with an increase of neutrophil recruitment and activation in the lung tissue. Following experimental antibody-dependent depletion of neutrophils, the antiviral effect of AgNPs in mice treated was ablated. To our knowledge, this is the first in vivo report demonstrating antiviral activity of AgNPs during RSV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number732
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • AgNP
  • Anti-Ly6G
  • Antiviral
  • Epithelial cells
  • G-CSF
  • GM-CSF
  • KC
  • Neutrophils
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Silver nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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