Ovatodiolide inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication and ameliorates pulmonary fibrosis through suppression of the TGF-β/TβRs signaling pathway

Wei Chung Chiou, Guan Jhong Huang, Tein Yao Chang, Tzu Lan Hsia, Hao You Yu, Jir Mehng Lo, Pin Kuei Fu*, Cheng Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection continues to pose threats to public health. The clinical manifestations of lung pathology in COVID-19 patients include sustained inflammation and pulmonary fibrosis. The macrocyclic diterpenoid ovatodiolide (OVA) has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-allergic, and analgesic activities. Here, we investigated the pharmacological mechanism of OVA in suppressing SARS-CoV-2 infection and pulmonary fibrosis in vitro and in vivo. Our results revealed that OVA was an effective SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro inhibitor and showed remarkable inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. On the other hand, OVA ameliorated pulmonary fibrosis in bleomycin (BLM)-induced mice, reducing inflammatory cell infiltration and collagen deposition in the lung. OVA decreased the levels of pulmonary hydroxyproline and myeloperoxidase, as well as lung and serum TNF-ɑ, IL-1β, IL-6, and TGF-β in BLM-induced pulmonary fibrotic mice. Meanwhile, OVA reduced the migration and fibroblast-to-myofibroblast conversion of TGF-β1-induced fibrotic human lung fibroblasts. Consistently, OVA downregulated TGF-β/TβRs signaling. In computational analysis, OVA resembles the chemical structures of the kinase inhibitors TβRI and TβRII and was shown to interact with the key pharmacophores and putative ATP-binding domains of TβRI and TβRII, showing the potential of OVA as an inhibitor of TβRI and TβRII kinase. In conclusion, the dual function of OVA highlights its potential for not only fighting SARS-CoV-2 infection but also managing injury-induced pulmonary fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114481
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
StatePublished - May 2023


  • 3CL protease (3CLpro) inhibitor
  • Ovatodiolide
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • TGF-β/TβRs signaling


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