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Virology. 1992 Mar;187(1):56-62.

Mechanism of inhibition of HIV-1 infection in vitro by purified extract of Prunella vulgaris.

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Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Crude extracts of four Chinese herbs, Arctium lappa, Astragalus membranaceus, Andrographis paniculata, and Prunella vulgaris, were assessed in several tissue culture lines for anti-HIV activity and for cytotoxicity. One extract, obtained from P. vulgaris, was able to significantly inhibit HIV-1 replication with relatively low cytotoxicity. The active factor was purified using sequential precipitations with ethanol and n-butanol, followed by reverse-phase and gel permeation high-performance liquid chromatographic separations. The active component was anionic with a molecular weight of approximately 10 kDa. The purified extract inhibited HIV-1 replication in the lymphoid cell line MT-4, in the monocytoid cell line U937, and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells at effective concentrations of 6, 30, and 12.5 micrograms/ml, respectively. Pretreatment of uninfected cells with the extract prior to viral exposure did not prevent HIV-1 infection. By contrast, preincubation of HIV-1 with the purified extract dramatically decreased infectiousness. The purified extract was also able to block cell-to-cell transmission of HIV-1, prevented syncytium formation, and interfered with the ability of both HIV-1 and purified gp120 to bind to CD4. PCR analysis confirmed the absence of HIV-1 proviral DNA in cells exposed to virus in the presence of the extract. These results suggest that the purified extract antagonizes HIV-1 infection of susceptible cells by preventing viral attachment to the CD4 receptor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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