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J Nat Med. 2011 Jan;65(1):229-33. doi: 10.1007/s11418-010-0468-8. Epub 2010 Sep 11.

Potent virucidal effect of pheophorbide a and pyropheophorbide a on enveloped viruses.

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Center of Biotechnology of Borj Cedria, BP 901, 2050, Hammam Lif, Tunisia.


In this study, we evaluated the inhibitory effect of ethanol and aqueous extracts from a stem of Opuntia ficus indica on replication of three kinds of viruses: two enveloped viruses [herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), influenza A virus (IFV-A)], and one non-enveloped virus [poliovirus type 1 (PV-1)]. Only ethanol extract from the cactus stem showed significant antiviral activity in vitro. Two chlorophyll derivatives, pheophorbide a and pyropheophorbide a, were isolated as active substances exhibiting potent virucidal effects on HSV-2 and IFV-A, but no activity against PV-1 was observed. These findings suggest that these active compounds might recognize specific glycoproteins of enveloped viruses, precluding their binding to host cell receptors and inhibiting viral infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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