Natural infection with dengue virus (DENV) induces an increase in the production of cytokines that play an important role in disease pathogenesis. Despite numerous scientific studies, there are still no commercially available disease-specific therapeutics. Previous evidence shows that inhibiting histone deacetylase enzymes (HDACs) regulates the immune response in several inflammatory disease models. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effect of HDAC inhibition in the production of inflammatory cytokines in human monocyte-derived macrophages infected with DENV serotype 2 (DENV-2). To this end, human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) were treated with valproic acid (VPA) before or after infection and the inflammatory cytokine concentration was quantified by flow cytometry. We found that infected MDMs secreted IL-8, IL-1b, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and IL-10, but not IL-12. Strikingly, treatment of infected cells with VPA had a differential and concentration-dependent effect on the production of specific cytokines without eliciting significant changes in cell viability. Using the highest concentration of VPA, a significant reduction in the production of all cytokines was observed. These results suggest that HDAC inhibition during DENV-2 infection could exert an important regulatory effect in the production of inflammatory cytokines, representing a significant advance in the design of novel therapeutic dengue treatments.
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