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Open Access Research article

Study on the antiviral activity of San Huang Yi Gan Capsule against hepatitis B virus with seropharmacological method

Haibo Xu1*, Qinghe Wu2, Cheng Peng1 and Lijuan Zhou3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1166 Liutai Avenue, Wenjiang, Chengdu, Sichuan, P.R. China 611137

2 Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China

3 Institute for Chinese Medicine Research, Sichuan Academy of Chinese Medicine Sciences, Chengdu, China

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:239  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-239

Published: 27 September 2013



Seropharmacology arising recently is a novel method of in vitro pharmacological study on Chinese herb using drug-containing animal serum. As seropharmacology possesses the advantages of experiments in vitro and in vivo, it is increasingly applied in pharmacological research on Chinese medicine. However, some issues of seropharmacology remain controversial and need to be clearly defined. San Huang Yi Gan Capsule (SHYGC) is a Chinese herbal formula with antiviral property against hepatitis B virus (HBV), but little is known about the mechanism underlying its anti-HBV activity. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the action mechanism of SHYGC using seropharmacological method and systematically address the methodology of preparing drug-containing serum.


New Zealand rabbits were orally administrated SHYGC with various regimens, followed by preparation of SHYGC-containing rabbit sera with a variety of methods. After HBV-producing HepG2 2.2.15 cells were treated with SHYGC-containing sera or entecavir for 9 days, the levels of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBV DNA and the activity of DNA Polymerase were determined in HepG2 2.2.15 cells-conditioned media.


An optimally standardized method of preparing drug-containing serum was raised for seropharmacology, with which SHYGC was demonstrated to suppress HBsAg expression, HBV DNA replication and DNA Polymerase activity in a dose-dependent fashion.


This seropharmacological study shows SHYGC is a potentially powerful anti-HBV agent. Additionally, seropharmacology is a promising pharmacological method with a broad range of advantages, and it can be widely used in biomedical research, if combined with pharmacokinetics.

Entecavir; Hepatitis B virus; San Huang Yi Gan capsule; Seropharmacology