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Planta Med. 2003 Oct;69(10):910-3.

Effect of limonin and nomilin on HIV-1 replication on infected human mononuclear cells.

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Department of Pharmacology of Natural Substances and General Physiology, University "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy.


In the last years several plant-derived natural compounds have been screened for their anti-HIV activity in order to find lead compounds with novel structures or mechanisms of action. Among these, several triterpenoids have been found to exhibit an antiretroviral activity with different mechanisms of action. In this study the effect of two limonoids, limonin and nomilin, on the growth of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) in culture of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and on monocytes/macrophages (M/M) is described. Limonin and nomilin were found to inhibit the HIV-1 replication in all cellular systems used. A dose-dependent inhibition of viral replication was observed in PBMC isolated from healthy donors and infected with HIV-1 strain after incubation with limonin and nomilin (EC (50) values: 60.0 microM and 52.2 microM, respectively). The two terpenoids inhibited at all concentrations studied the production of HIV-p24 antigen even when the PBMC employed were chronically infected (EC (50) values of 61.0 microM for limonin and 76.2 microM for nomilin). Moreover, these compounds inhibited the HIV-1 replication even in infected M/M. In this cellular system the inhibitory effect was significant at the concentrations of 20 microM, 40 microM and 80 microM starting from day 14 and reached the maximum effect after 18 days of incubation. As regards the mechanism of action, limonin and nomilin inhibit in vitro HIV-1 protease activity. In general, the results obtained point out a similar anti-HIV activity of limonin and nomilin indicating that this activity is not drastically influenced by the structural difference between the two compounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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