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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

An evaluation of the inhibitory effects against rotavirus infection of edible plant extracts

Karen Knipping12*, Johan Garssen12 and Belinda van’t Land13

Author Affiliations

1 Danone Research, Centre for Specialised Nutrition, P.O. Box 7005, 6700, CA, Wageningen, The Netherlands

2 Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, P.O. Box 80082, 3508, TB, Utrecht, The Netherlands

3 Department of Pediatrics, Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center, P.O. Box 85090, 3508, AB, Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:137  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-137

Published: 26 July 2012

Abstract

Background

Rotaviruses are the single most important cause of severe diarrhea in young children worldwide. The developments of specific, potent and accessible antiviral treatments that restrain rotavirus infection remain important to control rotavirus disease.

Methods

150 plant extracts with nutritional applications were screened in vitro on MA-104 cells for their antiviral activity against rhesus rotavirus (RRV). One extract (Aspalathus linearis (Burm.f.) R.Dahlgren) was also tested for its effect on the loss of transepithelial resistance (TER) of Caco-2 cells caused by simian rotavirus (SA-11) infection.

Results

Aqueous extracts of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. fruit, Urtica dioica L. root, Aspalathus linearis (Burm.f.) R.Dahlgren leaves, Glycyrrhiza glabra L. root and Olea europaea L. leaves were found to have strong significant antiviral activity with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) < 300 μg/ml. The pure compound 18ß-glycyrrhetinic acid from Glycyrrhiza glabra was found to have the strongest antiviral activity (IC50 46 μM), followed by luteolin and vitexin from Aspalathus linearis (IC50 respectively 116 μM and 129 μM) and apigenin-7-O-glucoside from Melissa officinalis (IC50 150 μM). A combination of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. + Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. and Urtica dioica L. + Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. showed synergy in their anti-viral activities. Aspalathus linearis (Burm.f.) R.Dahlgren showed no positive effect on the maintenance of the TER.

Conclusions

These results indicate that nutritional intervention with extracts of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn., Aspalathus linearis (Burm.f.) R.Dahlgren, Urtica dioica L., Glycyrrhiza glabra L. and Olea europaea L. might be useful in the treatment of diarrhea caused by rotavirus infection.

Keywords:
Rotavirus; Antiviral activity; Transepithelial resistance; Plant extracts