Glycyrrhizin as antiviral agent against Hepatitis C Virus

Division of Molecular Medicine, National Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology, University of Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.
Journal of Translational Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.93). 07/2011; 9(1, article 112):112. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5876-9-112
Source: PubMed


Hepatitis C virus is a major cause of chronic liver diseases which can lead to permanent liver damage, hepatocellular carcinoma and death. The presently available treatment with interferon plus ribavirin, has limited benefits due to adverse side effects such as anemia, depression, fatigue, and "flu-like" symptoms. Herbal plants have been used for centuries against different diseases including viral diseases and have become a major source of new compounds to treat bacterial and viral diseases.
The present study was design to study the antiviral effect of Glycyrrhizin (GL) against HCV. For this purpose, HCV infected liver cells were treated with GL at non toxic doses and HCV titer was measured by Quantitative real time RT-PCR.
Our results demonstrated that GL inhibit HCV titer in a dose dependent manner and resulted in 50% reduction of HCV at a concentration of 14 ± 2 μg. Comparative studies were made with interferon alpha to investigate synergistic effects, if any, between antiviral compound and interferon alpha 2a. Our data showed that GL exhibited synergistic effect when combined with interferon. Moreover, these results were verified by transiently transfecting the liver cells with HCV 3a core plasmid. The results proved that GL dose dependently inhibit the expression of HCV 3a core gene both at mRNA and protein levels while the GAPDH remained constant.
Our results suggest that GL inhibit HCV full length viral particles and HCV core gene expression or function in a dose dependent manner and had synergistic effect with interferon. In future, GL along with interferon will be better option to treat HCV infection.

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    • "The development of antibiotic resistance is a multifactorial. To overcome the problem of antibiotic resistance, medicinal plants have been extensively studied as alternative treatments for different viral and bacterial diseases [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] . The current study made an attempt to find out novel anti-bacterial agents against multidrug resistant S. aureus from medicinal plant extracts. "
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    • "GA was found to inhibit the replication of the SARS-associated virus [51]. In the treatment of HCV (hepatitis C virus) infection, GA can inhibit HCV full-length viral particles and HCV core gene expression or function in a dose-dependent manner and have a synergistic effect with interferon [52]. GA is also involved in biliary secretion and excretion. "
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    • "E2 is highly glycosylated with most of the glycosylation sites well conserved [12]. In addition to these conserved residues, E2 has hypervariable regions which vary up to 80% among HCV of different genotypes and even between the subtypes of same genotype [13]. However, E2 protein interacts with DC-SIGN and L-SIGN (mannose binding proteins) but detailed mechanism of viral entry is unclear. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a universal health issue and a significant risk factor leading to hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV has infected approximately 170 million individuals worldwide. It is a member of Flaviviridae with positive sense RNA genome. In the absence of any effective vaccine against HCV, pegylated interferon with ribavirin is the standard of treatment against HCV infection. In this study, sequence and structural analysis of envelope 2 (E2) protein was performed which was isolated from patients of HCV genotype 3a in Pakistan. Then, epitopes were predicted which were specific for both B-cells and T-cells. Later, conservancy of epitopes was checked with the HCV 3a and 1a sequences from different countries. A total of 6 conserved epitopes were found from extra-membranous regions of E2 protein. Presence of conserved epitopes in E2 protein generates the possibility that these epitopes can be used to elicit the immune response against HCV.
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