Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

When Off Target Effects Are On Target: The Role Of Spironolactone In Patients With COVID-19

Version 1 : Received: 12 May 2021 / Approved: 18 May 2021 / Online: 18 May 2021 (10:39:03 CEST)

How to cite: Wilcox, C.S.; Pitt, B. When Off Target Effects Are On Target: The Role Of Spironolactone In Patients With COVID-19. Preprints 2021, 2021050414 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202105.0414.v1). Wilcox, C.S.; Pitt, B. When Off Target Effects Are On Target: The Role Of Spironolactone In Patients With COVID-19. Preprints 2021, 2021050414 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202105.0414.v1).

Abstract

Aims: Spironolactone is a steroidal mineralocoricosteroid receptor antagonist (MRA) used for treatment of resistant hypertension, heart failure and edema. It exerts class specific adverse effects that are shared by other MRAs. Additionally, it exerts unique “off target” steroidal effects that include gynecomastia, impotence and loss of libido in males and menstrual irregularity in females. Together, these have led to a poor tolerability and limited use despite positive results in many randomized, controlled clinical trials. We review the off-target effects of spironolactone that may summate with its MRA action to provide an advantageous profile for prevention or treatment of patients with COVID-19. Methods: Literature review using PubMed Central. Results: The blockade by spironolactone of the androgen receptor should diminish the expression of transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) that has an androgen promoter while its MRA action should enhance the expression of protease nexin1 (PN1) that inhibits furin and plasmin. TMPRSS2, furin and plasmin cooperated to process the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to increase its high affinity binding to the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and thereby promote viral cell entry. Its actions as an MRA may reduce inflammation and preserve pulmonary, cardiac and vascular functions. Its anti-plasmin action may combat hemostatic dysfunction. Conclusion: The hypothesis that the off-target effects of spironolactone summate with its MRA actions to provide special benefits for COVID-19 is worthy of direct investigation and clinical trial.

Keywords

: mineralocorticosteroid receptor antagonist (MRA); angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2); SARS-CoV-2; transmembrane protease receptor serine 2; furin; plasmin

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