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Houttuynia cordata Targets the Beginning Stage of Herpes Simplex Virus Infection

Herpes simplex virus (HSV), a common latent virus in humans, causes certain severe dis-eases. Extensive use of acyclovir (ACV) results in the development of drug-resistant HSV strains, hence, there is an urgent need to develop new drugs to treat HSV infection. Hout-tuynia cordata (H. cordata), a natural herbal medicine, has been reported to exhibit anti-HSV effects which is partly NF-κB-dependent. However, the molecular mechanisms by which H. cordata inhibits HSV infection are not elucidated thoroughly. Here, we report that H. cordata water extracts (HCWEs) inhibit the infection of HSV-1, HSV-2, and acyclovir-resistant HSV-1 mainly via blocking viral binding and penetration in the beginning of infec-tion. HCWEs also suppress HSV replication. Furthermore, HCWEs attenuate the first-wave of NF-κB activation, which is essential for viral gene expressions. Further analysis of six compounds in HCWEs revealed that quercetin and isoquercitrin inhibit NF-κB activation and additionally, quercetin also has an inhibitory effect on viral entry. These results indicate that HCWEs can inhibit HSV infection through multiple mechanisms and could be a poten-tial lead for development of new drugs for treating HSV.

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