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Antiviral Res. 2002 Jan;53(1):19-34.

Inhibitory effects of (-)-epigallocatechin gallate on the life cycle of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8, Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, 142-8555, Tokyo, Japan.


Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), the major tea catechin, is known as a potent anti-bacterial agent. In addition, anti-tumor promoting, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and antiviral activities have been reported. In the present study, we investigated possible anti-human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) activity of EGCg and its mechanisms of action in the viral life cycle. EGCg impinges on each step of the HIV life cycle. Thus, destruction of the viral particles, viral attachment to cells, post-adsorption entry into cells, reverse transcription (RT), viral production from chronically-infected cells, and the level of expression of viral mRNA, were analyzed using T-lymphoid (H9) and monocytoid (THP-1) cell systems, and antiviral protease activity was measured using a cell-free assay. Inhibitory effects of EGCg on specific binding of the virions to the cellular surfaces and changes in the steady state viral regulation (mRNA expression) due to EGCg were not observed. However, EGCg had a destructive effect on the viral particles, and post-adsorption entry and RT in acutely infected monocytoid cells were significantly inhibited at concentrations of EGCg greater than 1 microM, and protease kinetics were suppressed at a concentration higher than 10 microM in the cell-free study. Viral production by THP-1 cells chronically-infected with HIV-1 was also inhibited in a dose-dependent manner and the inhibitory effect was enhanced by liposome modification of EGCg. As expected, increased viral mRNA production was observed in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated chronically HIV-1-infected cells. This production was significantly inhibited by EGCg treatment of THP-1 cells. In contrast, production of HIV-1 viral mRNA in unstimulated or LPS-stimulated T-lymphoid cells (H9) was not inhibited by EGCg. Anti-HIV viral activity of EGCg may thus result from an interaction with several steps in the HIV-1 life cycle.

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