2016 Volume 69 Issue 3 Pages 213-220
Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) results in hepatitis C, a disease characterized by chronic infection, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently, the standard therapy is a combination of pegylated interferon-α plus ribavirin with NS3 protease inhibitors. Addition of NS3 protease inhibitors to the standard therapy improves response rates; however, use of NS3 protease inhibitors is also associated with significant adverse effects and an increase in the overall cost of treatment. Therefore, there is a need to develop safe and inexpensive drugs for the treatment of HCV infections. In this study, we examined the antiviral activity of a crude extract from Dimocarpus longan leaves against HCV (genotype 2a strain JFH1). The D. longan crude extract (DL-CE) exhibited anti-HCV activity with a 50% effective concentration (EC50) of 19.4 μg/ml without cytotoxicity. A time-of-addition study demonstrated that DL-CE has anti-HCV activity at both the entry and post-entry steps and markedly blocks the viral entry step through direct virucidal activity with marginal inhibition of virion assembly. Co-treatment of DL-CE with cyclosporine A, an immunosuppressant or telaprevir, an NS3 protease inhibitor, resulted in additive and synergistic antiviral effects, respectively. Our findings suggest that DL-CE may be useful as an add-on therapy candidate for treating HCV infections.