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Hepat Mon. 2011 Sep;11(9):724-30. doi: 10.5812/kowsar.1735143X.722.

Examination of the activity of camel milk casein against hepatitis C virus (genotype-4a) and its apoptotic potential in hepatoma and hela cell lines.

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Antibody Laboratory, Protein Research Department, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research Institute, Alexandria, Egypt.



Hepatitis C is a global health concern that represents a major cause of liver disease and socioeconomic burden. Currently, there is no vaccine that protects against this infection or drug that treats it effectively. The current treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection does not produce a sustained virologic response. Therefore,discovery and identification of a new drug for HCV treatment is a high priority.Camel milk is a traditional medicine that could improve the control of HCV.


To assess the potential effect of casein purified from camel milk on HCV cellular infectivity in a tissue culture model.


Casein was purified from defatted camel milk to electrophoretic homogeneity. PBMCs and HepG2 and HeLa cell lines were used. Three kinds of experiments were conducted. HCV was directly interacted with casein and then mixed with different cell types, casein was incubated with the cells and then exposed to HCV, and the HCV pre-infected cells were treated with casein at different concentrations and time intervals. Non-infected cells were used to assess cytotoxicity and the apoptosis effect of casein.


Direct interaction of casein (with or without α-lactalbumin) with neither the virus nor the cells prevented HCV cell entry. However, casein with α-lactalbumin induced a cytotoxic effect in HepG2 and HeLa cell lines but not in human naïve leukocytes. At all concentrations tested, casein with α-lactalbumin could induce apoptosis in both infected and non-infected HepG2 cells.


Camel milk casein (with or without α-lactalbumin) did not demonstrate any anti-HCV activity. However, the cellular apoptotic cascade was initiated in HepG2 and HeLa cells treated with casein (with α-lactalbumin) but not in naïve leukocytes.


Apoptosis; Blocking; Camel; Casein; Cell entry; Hepatitis C virus

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