Inhibition of HIV-1 entry by extracts derived from traditional Chinese medicinal herbal plants

In Woo Park, Changri Han, Xiaoping Song, Linden A. Green, Ting Wang, Ying Liu, Changchun Cen, Xinming Song, Biao Yang, Guangying Chen, Johnny J. He

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27 Scopus citations


Background: Highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) is the current HIV/AIDS treatment modality. Despite the fact that HAART is very effective in suppressing HIV-1 replication and reducing the mortality of HIV/AIDS patients, it has become increasingly clear that HAART does not offer an ultimate cure to HIV/AIDS. The high cost of the HAART regimen has impeded its delivery to over 90% of the HIV/AIDS population in the world. This reality has urgently called for the need to develop inexpensive alternative anti-HIV/AIDS therapy. This need has further manifested by recent clinical trial failures in anti-HIV-1 vaccines and microbicides. In the current study, we characterized a panel of extracts of traditional Chinese medicinal herbal plants for their activities against HIV-1 replication. Methods: Crude and fractionated extracts were prepared from various parts of nine traditional Chinese medicinal herbal plants in Hainan Island, China. These extracts were first screened for their anti-HIV activity and cytotoxicity in human CD4+ Jurkat cells. Then, a single-round pseudotyped HIV-luciferase reporter virus system (HIV-Luc) was used to identify potential anti-HIV mechanisms of these extracts. Results: Two extracts, one from Euphorbiaceae, Trigonostema xyphophylloides (TXE) and one from Dipterocarpaceae, Vatica astrotricha (VAD) inhibited HIV-1 replication and syncytia formation in CD4+ Jurkat cells, and had little adverse effects on host cell proliferation and survival. TXE and VAD did not show any direct inhibitory effects on the HIV-1 RT enzymatic activity. Treatment of these two extracts during the infection significantly blocked infection of the reporter virus. However, pre-treatment of the reporter virus with the extracts and treatment of the extracts post-infection had little effects on the infectivity or gene expression of the reporter virus. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that TXE and VAD inhibit HIV-1 replication likely by blocking HIV-1 interaction with target cells, i.e., the interaction between gp120 and CD4/CCR5 or gp120 and CD4/CXCR4 and point to the potential of developing these two extracts to be HIV-1 entry inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
StatePublished - 5 Aug 2009


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