Gallic acid decreases hepatitis C virus expression through its antioxidant capacity.

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Govea-Salas M, Rivas-Estilla AM, Rodríguez-Herrera R, Lozano-Sepúlveda SA, Aguilar-Gonzalez CN, Zugasti-Cruz A, Salas-Villalobos TB, Morlett-Chávez JA. (2016). Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 11(2): 619-624. DOI: 10.3892/etm.2015.2923.

Gallic acid (GA) is a natural phenolic compound that possesses various biological effects, including antioxidant, anti‑inflammatory, antibiotic, anticancer, antiviral and cardiovascular protection activities. In addition, numerous studies have reported that antioxidants possess antiviral activities. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most important causes of chronic liver diseases worldwide, but until recently, only a small number of antiviral agents had been developed against HCV. Therefore, the present study investigated whether GA exhibits an anti‑HCV activity. The effects of GA on HCV expression were examined using a subgenomic HCV replicon cell culture system that expressed HCV nonstructural proteins (NSs). In addition, GA cytotoxicity was evaluated at concentrations between 100‑600 mg/ml using an MTT assay. Huh‑7 replicon cells were incubated with 300 mg/ml GA for different times, and the HCV‑RNA and protein levels were measured by reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis, respectively. Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) was used as an antioxidant control and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was measured during the exposure. The results indicated that GA did not produce a statistically significant cytotoxicity in parental and HCV replicon cells. Furthermore, GA downregulated the expression levels of NS5A‑HCV protein (~55%) and HCV‑RNA (~50%) in a time‑dependent manner compared with the levels in untreated cells. Notably, GA treatment decreased ROS production at the early time points of exposure in cells expressing HCV proteins. Similar results were obtained upon PDTC exposure. These findings suggest that the antioxidant capacity of GA may be involved in the downregulation of HCV replication in hepatoma cells.

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