In vitro analysis of the antioxidant and antiviral activity of embelin against herpes simplex virus‐1

Tony Elias, Lee H. Lee, Miriam Rossi, Francesco Caruso, Sandra D. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Herpes simplex virus‐1 (HSV‐1) causes a wide range of infections from mild to life‐threat-ening in the human population. There are effective treatments for HSV‐1 infections that are limited due HSV‐1 latency and development of resistance to current therapeutics. The goal of this study was to investigate the antioxidant and antiviral effects of embelin on HSV‐1 in cultured Vero cells. Oxidative stress was verified by an extensive production of a reactive oxygen species (ROS) H2O2. Vero cells were infected with a recombinant strain of HSV‐1 and antiviral assays, time course at-tachment, penetration, and post penetration assays, confocal microscopy, qPCR, and antioxidant assays were conducted. Our results lead to the conclusion that embelin is noncytotoxic at concentrations tested ranging from 20 to 70 μM. Treatment of HSV‐1 virions with embelin resulted in 98.7– 100% inhibition and affected the early stage of HSV‐1 infection of Vero cells, by inhibiting the attachment and penetration of HSV‐1 virions to host cells. Treatment of virions with concentrations of embelin ranging from 35 to 60 μM significantly reduced the production of H2O2. In conclusion, embelin reduces oxidative damage caused by HSV‐1 infection and is an effective antiviral to reduce the infection of HSV‐1 in cultured Vero cells. Further studies are needed to explore the possibility of embelin as a medicinal agent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number434
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Antioxidant
  • Antiviral
  • Embelin
  • HSV‐1


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