9-(2-Phosphonylmethoxyethyl) adenine increases the survival of influenza virus-infected mice by an enhancement of the immune system

Nicoletta Villani, Raffaele Caliò, Emanuela Balestra, Jan Balzarini, Erik De Clercq, Emanuele Fabrizi, Carlo Federico Perno, Vera Del Gobbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PMEA (9-(2-phosphonylmethoxyethyl)adenine) is a potent inhibitor of DNA viruses and retroviruses able to enhance natural immune functions such as natural killer cell activity and interferon production. The results reported in this paper show that the treatment with PMEA significatively decreased the mortality of mice challenged with influenza A/PR8 virus (an RNA virus, non sensitive to the antiviral effect of PMEA) compared to untreated, infected controls (median survival 8.64 days and 7.61 days, respectively), and reduced lung weight and consolidation (two surrogate markers of virus infection). Furthermore, virus titer obtained from lung homogenates was substantially decreased in PMEA-treated mice compared to controls. Finally, enhancement of natural killer cell activity was achieved in PMEA-treated A/PR8-infected mice compared to A/PR8-infected controls. Overall, results suggest that PMEA decreases the influenza virus-related mortality and morbidity through the enhancement of some immune functions, and that this effect might be additive or even synergystic with the direct inhibitory effect of DNA viruses or retroviruses induced by PMEA itself. This supports the importance of evaluating this drug in patients with diseases related to herpesviruses or to human immunodeficiency virus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalAntiviral Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • A/PR/8/34 influenza virus
  • Immunomodulation
  • Natural killer
  • PMEA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Pharmacology


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