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Antiviral Res. 2005 Sep;67(3):155-62.

Effect of resveratrol on herpes simplex virus vaginal infection in the mouse.

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Department of Microbiology/Immunology, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, 4209 State Route 44, Rootstown, OH 44272, USA.


Resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxystilbene) is a natural component of certain foods, such as grapes, that, when topically applied, has been shown to limit HSV-1 lesion formation in the skin of mice [Antiviral Res. 61:19-26, 2004]. To determine if it is active on genital HSV infection, the vagina of mice were infected with HSV-2 or HSV-1 and treated with a cream formulation of resveratrol. Mice were evaluated daily for extravaginal disease and vaginal swabs were taken regularly and assayed for infectious virus. Initial studies demonstrated that 19% resveratrol cream administered intravaginally five times a day for 5 days beginning 1h after infection significantly reduced HSV-2 replication beginning on day 1 of infection and prevented extravaginal disease when compared to animals treated with placebo. When resveratrol was tested at a concentration of 6.25% and 12.5% administered five times a day, 6.25% limited virus replication only on day 1 and delayed development of extravaginal disease by 1 day. However, 12.5% resveratrol inhibited HSV-2 replication beginning on day 1 and abolished extravaginal disease. If the number of applications per day was reduced to three for 5 days, 12.5% resveratrol inhibited HSV-2 replication only on day 1, while 19% resveratrol inhibited it throughout the 9-day assay period. When the animals with three treatments per day were examined for extravaginal disease, it was found that 12.5% resveratrol was ineffective when compared to placebo, while animals treated with 19% resveratrol did not exhibit extravaginal disease. When treatment was delayed 6h, 12.5% resveratrol did not inhibit HSV-2 replication or extravaginal lesion formation, but 19% resveratrol did. When resveratrol was used to treat vaginal HSV-1 infection, it was found that 12.5% resveratrol did not limit replication or prevent extravaginal lesion formation. In contrast, 19% resveratrol did significantly limit vaginal HSV-1 replication and reduced extravaginal lesion formation, but the latter was not significant. Mortality rates in placebo-treated animals was 37%, 6.25% resveratrol-treated animals was 40%, 12.5% resveratrol-treated animals was 24%, and 19% resveratrol-treated animals was 3%. Collectively, these results demonstrate that resveratrol cream inhibits or reduces HSV replication in the vagina of mice and limits extravaginal disease.

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