Antiviral activity of silymarin against Mayaro virus and protective effect in virus-induced oxidative stress.
Antiviral Res. 2018 10 ;158:8-12. Epub 2018 Aug 1. PMID: 30076863
Fernanda Caetano Camini
Mayaro virus (MAYV) is a neglected arbovirus belonging to the family Togaviridae. Its infection leads to Mayaro fever, with clinical manifestations such as fever, myalgia, headache, rash, arthralgia, vomiting, and diarrhea. The most prominent complaint from infected person is the long-lasting arthritis/arthralgia. The treatment for Mayaro fever is mainly symptom-based and there are no vaccines or antiviral drugs currently available, thus, natural products with anti-MAYV activity may provide a potential alternative. Recent evidences suggest that oxidative stress plays an important role in MAYV infection and compounds capable of modulating oxidative stress could represent a novel therapeutic approach in modulating MAYV-associated oxidative cellular damage. Silymarin is a complex extracted of Silybum marianum, or milk thistle, and its major active compound is silybin, which has a remarkable biological effect. Its antioxidant and antiviral effects, including its antiviral activity against the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), prompted us to think whether silymarin could also reduce the replication of the MAYV and restore the pro-oxidant/antioxidant balance in the context of MAYV infection, leading to reduced cellular oxidative stress. We assessed the antiviral activity and protective effect of silymarin against oxidative stress in MAYV-infected HepG2 cells. Cytopathic effect inhibition, viral replication, and plaque reduction assays were used to determine the anti-MAYV activity of silymarin. Additionally, we determined whether silymarin could reduce MAYV-induced oxidative cell damage. Briefly, silymarin exhibited potent antiviral activity against MAYV and reduced MAYV-induced ROS formation and levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and carbonyl protein, which are biomarkers of oxidative stress. In conclusion, the ability of silymarin to inhibit MAYV replication and attenuate MAYV-induce oxidative stress warrants further investigation of this compound as a novel therapeutic approach to Mayaro fever disease.