Histone deacetylase inhibitors suppress ACE2 and ABO simultaneously, suggesting a preventive potential against COVID-19 Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractCoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide as a pandemic throughout 2020. Since the virus uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor for cellular entry, increment of ACE2 would lead to an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. At the same time, an association of the ABO blood group system with COVID-19 has also been highlighted: there is increasing evidence to suggest that non-O individuals are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 than O individuals. These findings imply that simultaneous suppression of ACE2 and ABO would be a promising approach for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. Notably, we have previously clarified that histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) are able to suppress ABO expression in vitro. Against this background, we further evaluated the effect of HDACIs on cultured epithelial cell lines, and found that HDACIs suppress both ACE2 and ABO expression simultaneously. Furthermore, the amount of ACE2 protein was shown to be decreased by one of the clinically-used HDACIs, panobinostat, which has been reported to reduce B-antigens on cell surfaces. On the basis of these findings, we conclude that panobinostat could have the potential to serve as a preventive drug against COVID-19.


  • Takahashi, Yoichiro
  • Hayakawa, Akira
  • Sano, Rie
  • Fukuda, Haruki
  • Harada, Megumi
  • Kubo, Rieko
  • Okawa, Takafumi
  • Kominato, Yoshihiko

publication date

  • February 9, 2021