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J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Apr 26;98(3):323-7.

Antiviral activity in vitro of Urtica dioica L., Parietaria diffusa M. et K. and Sambucus nigra L.

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Department of Agronomia e Gestione dell'Agroecosistema, University of Pisa, Via S. Michele degli Scalzi 2, Pisa 56100, Italy.


Parietaria diffusa M. et K., Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae) and Sambucus nigra L. (Caprifoliaceae) are plants usually used in popular medicine of central Italy for treating numerous diseases, first of all Herpes zoster. Several plant products have been described as potential antiviral agents, with special attention being devoted to those having retroviruses as etiological agents, including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), in which a retrovirus, the designated human immunodeficiency virus HIV, has been clearly identified as the primary cause of this disease. The present study proposes a preliminary screening of the antiviral activity of Parietaria diffusa, Sambucus nigra and Urtica dioica preparation against the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection. The feline immunodeficiency virus is a widespread lentivirus of domestic cats sharing numerous biological and pathogenic features with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). FIV infection in cats has therefore been proposed as an animal model for AIDS studies with respect to pathogenesis, chemotherapy, and vaccine development [Pedersen, N.C., 1993. Feline immunodeficiency virus infection. In: Levy, J.A. (Ed.), The Retroviridae. Plenum Press, New York; Bendinelli, M., Pistello, M., Lombardi, S., Poli, A., Garzelli, C., Matteucci, D., Ceccherini-Nelli, L., Malvaldi, G., Tozzini, F., 1995. Feline immunodeficiency virus: an interesting model for AIDS studies and an important cat pathogen. Clinical Microbiology Revue 8, 87-112; North, T.W., LaCasse, R.A., 1995. Testing anti-HIV drugs in the FIV model. Nature Medicine 1, 410-411; Matteucci, D., Pistello, M., Mazzetti, P., Giannechini, S., Isola, P., Merico, A., Zaccaro, L., Rizzati, A., Bendinelli, M., 2000. AIDS vaccination studies using feline immunodeficiency virus as a model: immunisation with inactivated whole virus suppresses viraemia levels following intravaginal challenge with infected cells but non-following intravenous challenge with cell-free virus. Vaccine 18, 119-130]. Early studies showed that some of them presented antiviral activity against infection of FIV as assayed by syncytia formation using feline kidney Crandell cells (CrFK).

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