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Houttuynia cordata blocks HSV infection through inhibition of NF-κB activation

Houttuynia cordata Thunb. is a medicinal plant widely used in folk medicine in several Asian countries. It has been reported that a water extract of H. cordata exhibits activity against herpes simplex virus (HSV) and the virus of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), although the mechanisms are not fully under-stood yet. Previous studies have demonstrated absolute requirement of NF-κB activation for efficient rep-lication of HSV-1 and HSV-2 and inhibition of NF-κB activation has been shown to suppress HSV infection. Here we show that a hot water extract of H. cordata (HCWE) inhibits HSV-2 infection through inhibition of NF-κB activation. The IC50 was estimated at 50 lg/ml of lyophilized HCWE powder. At 150 and 450 lg/ml, HCWE blocked infectious HSV-2 production by more than 3 and 4 logs, respectively. The inhibitory activity was concomitant with an inhibition of NF-κB activation by HSV-2 infection. Although activation of NF-κB and Erk MAPK has been implicated for HSV replication and growth, HCWE showed no effect on HSV-2-induced Erk activation. Furthermore, we show that treatment with quercetin, quercitrin or isoquercitrin, major water extractable flavonoids from H. cordata, significantly blocked HSV-2 infection. These results together demonstrated that H. cordata blocks HSV-2 infection through inhibition of NF-κB activation.