Oleanolic acid, ursolic acid suppress hepatitis C virus replication

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Saturday Nov 23, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study reported in Antiviral Research suggests taking oleanolic acid and ursolic acid as antiviral supplements can help suppress the replication of hepatitis C viruses.  Replication of hepatitis C virus is why acute hepatitis C infection becomes chronic in 70 to 80% infected people.

The study led by L Kong from Jiangxi Agricultural University in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China and colleagues shows that oleanolic acid and ursolic acid exhibited anti-HCV activity.  HCV stands for hepatitis C virus.

Oleanolic acid and ursolic acid used in the experiment were isolated from the Chinese herb Fructus Ligustri Lucidi, which the researchers found is able to directly inhibit HCV NS5B RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity.

In the current study, an aqueous extract of the Chinese herb was found to strongly suppress HCV replication, which led the researchers to isolate the bioactive antivirals namely oleanolic acid and ursolic acid from the extract.

Specifically, oleanolic acid and ursolic acid "significantly suppressed the replication of HCV genotype 1b replicon and HCV genotype 2a JFH1 virus," the researchers reported.

Hepatitis C virus infects as many as 170 million people worldwide and the treatments available now cure 50% of the HCV patients and can induce adverse effects, the authors say in the report.

The report suggests "natural products oleanolic acid and ursolic acid could be used as potential HCV antivirals that can be applied to clinic trials either as monotherapy or in combination with other HCV antivirals."

Early studies show  Fructus Ligustri Lucidi, a Chinese herb medicine, can help maintain calcium balance and prevent calcium loss.  (David Liu, PHD)

Reference

Kong L, Li S, Liao Q, Zhang Y, Sun R, Zhu X, Zhang Q, Wang J, Wu X, Fang X, Zhu Y.  Oleanolic acid and ursolic acid: novel hepatitis C virus antivirals that inhibit NS5B activity.  Antiviral Res. 2013 Apr;98(1):44-53. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 Feb 16.

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