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Keywords:

  • HSV-2;
  • antiviral;
  • meliacine;
  • Melia azedarach L.;
  • mouse genital infection;
  • microbicide

Abstract

Since natural products are considered powerful sources of novel drug discovery, a partially purified extract (meliacine) from the leaves of Melia azedarach L., a plant used in traditional medicine in India for the treatment of several diseases, has been studied. Meliacine exhibits a potent antiviral effect against several viruses without displaying cytotoxicity. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the therapeutic effect of intravaginal administration of meliacine in a mouse model of genital herpetic infection. BALB/c female mice were infected with MS or G strains of Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 and then treated with meliacine topically. An overall protective effect was observed. Animal survival increased, the severity of the disease was reduced, life span was extended and virus shedding in vagina fluids was diminished. In addition, meliacine reduced the amount of virus that migrated to the brain and vaginal fluids presented higher levels of IFN-γ and TNF-α than untreated infected mice. These results indicate that meliacine could be an alternative therapeutic compound against HSV-2 genital infection. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.