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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Mechanism of curcumin resistance to human cytomegalovirus in HELF cells

Yali Lv, Zhuoling An, Hui Chen, Zihui Wang and Lihong Liu*

Author Affiliations

Department of pharmaceutical affairs, Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital, Capital Medical University, No. 8 GongrenTiyuchangNanlu, Chaoyang District, 100020 Beijing, P. R. China

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:284  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-284

Published: 4 August 2014



We have previously shown that curcumin exhibited an outstanding anti-HCMV effect in vitro and in vivo. However, the underlying mechanism for the anti-HCMV effect remains unclear.


Levels of IL-6 and TNF-α cytokine secretions in HELF cells were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); cell cycles were assessed by flow cytometry; ie and ul83 gene expressions were evaluated using reverse transcriptase real-time quantitative PCR; HCMV IE and UL83 antigen expressions were studied using immunofluorescence staining assay and western blot.


Curcumin reduced HCMV immediate early antigen (IEA) and UL83A expressions and IL-6, and TNF-α secretions and recovered cell proliferation to normal level in HCMV infected HELF cells.


Curcumin anti-HCMV effect may possibly be that curcumin concurrently alters host cell microenviroment and inhibits the HCMV antigen expressions. These findings may provide a basic understanding of the curcumin anti-HCMV effect and a novel strategy for further development of curcumin anti-HCMV treatment.

Human cytomegalovirus; Curcumin; Cytokine secretion; Cells cycle; Gene expression; Immediate early antigen; IEA; UL83A