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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1998 Feb;42(2):369-76.

Inhibitory effect of 2'-fluoro-5-methyl-beta-L-arabinofuranosyl-uracil on duck hepatitis B virus replication.

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INSERM U271, Lyon, France.


The antiviral activity of 2'-fluoro-5-methyl-beta-L-arabinofuranosyluracil (L-FMAU), a novel L-nucleoside analog of thymidine known to be an inhibitor of hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication in hepatoma cells ( cell line), was evaluated in the duck HBV (DHBV) model. Short-term oral administration (5 days) of L-FMAU (40 mg/kg of body weight/day) to experimentally infected ducklings induced a significant decrease in the level of viremia. This antiviral effect was sustained in animals when therapy was prolonged for 8 days. The histological study showed no evidence of liver toxicity in the L-FMAU-treated group. By contrast, microvesicular steatosis was found in the livers of dideoxycytidine-treated animals. L-FMAU administration in primary duck hepatocyte cultures infected with DHBV induced a dose-dependent inhibition of both virion release in culture supernatants and intracellular viral DNA synthesis, without clearance of viral covalently closed circular DNA. By using a cell-free system for the expression of an enzymatically active DHBV reverse transcriptase, it was shown that L-FMAU triphosphate exhibits an inhibitory effect on the incorporation of dAMP in the viral DNA primer. Thus, our data demonstrate that L-FMAU inhibits DHBV replication in vitro and in vivo. Long-term administration of L-FMAU for the eradication of viral infection in animal models of HBV infection should be evaluated.

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