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Open Access Research article

Inhibitory effect of aqueous dandelion extract on HIV-1 replication and reverse transcriptase activity

Huamin Han12, Wen He125, Wei Wang13 and Bin Gao14*

Author Affiliations

1 CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology (CASPMI), Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China

2 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China

3 School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China

4 China-Japan Joint Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China

5 Biochemistry Teaching and Research office of Hebei medical university, Shijiazhuang, PR China

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11:112  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-112

Published: 14 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is an immunosuppressive disease that results in life-threatening opportunistic infections. The general problems in current therapy include the constant emergence of drug-resistant HIV strains, adverse side effects and the unavailability of treatments in developing countries. Natural products from herbs with the abilities to inhibit HIV-1 life cycle at different stages, have served as excellent sources of new anti-HIV-1 drugs. In this study, we aimed to investigate the anti-HIV-1 activity of aqueous dandelion extract.

Methods

The pseudotyped HIV-1 virus has been utilized to explore the anti-HIV-1 activity of dandelion, the level of HIV-1 replication was assessed by the percentage of GFP-positive cells. The inhibitory effect of the dandelion extract on reverse transcriptase activity was assessed by the reverse transcriptase assay kit.

Results

Compared to control values obtained from cells infected without treatment, the level of HIV-1 replication and reverse transcriptase activity were decreased in a dose-dependent manner. The data suggest that dandelion extract has a potent inhibitory activity against HIV-1 replication and reverse transcriptase activity. The identification of HIV-1 antiviral compounds from Taraxacum officinale should be pursued.

Conclusions

The dandelion extract showed strong activity against HIV-1 RT and inhibited both the HIV-1 vector and the hybrid-MoMuLV/MoMuSV retrovirus replication. These findings provide additional support for the potential therapeutic efficacy of Taraxacum officinale. Extracts from this plant may be regarded as another starting point for the development of an antiretroviral therapy with fewer side effects.