Genistein and especially Baicalein (Chinese Skullcap) inhibit human cytomegalovirus. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Human cytomegalovirus-inhibitory flavonoids: studies on antiviral activity and mechanism of action.
Antiviral Res. 2005 Dec;68(3):124-34. Epub 2005 Sep 15. PMID: 16188329
We report antiviral activity against human cytomegalovirus for certain dietary flavonoids and their likely biochemical mechanisms of action. Nine out of ten evaluated flavonoids blocked HCMV replication at concentrations that were significantly lower than those producing cytotoxicity against growing or stationary phase host cells. Baicalein was the most potent inhibitor in this series (IC(50)=0.4-1.2 microM), including positive control ganciclovir. Baicalein and genistein were chosen as model compounds to study the antiviral mechanism(s) of action for this series. Both flavonoids significantly reduced the levels of HCMV early and late proteins, as well as viral DNA synthesis. Baicalein reduced the levels of HCMV immediate-early proteins to nearly background levels while genistein did not. The antiviral effects of genistein, but not baicalein, were fully reversible in cell culture. Pre-incubation of concentrated virus stocks with either flavonoid did not inhibit HCMV replication, suggesting that baicalein did not directly inactivate virus particles. Baicalein functionally blocked epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase activity and HCMV nuclear translocation, while genistein did not. At 24h post infection HCMV-infected cells treated with genistein continued to express immediate-early proteins and efficiently phosphorylate IE1-72. However, HCMV induction of NF-kappaB and increases in the levels of cell cycle regulatory proteins--events that are associated with immediate-early protein functioning--were absent. The data suggested that the primary mechanism of action for baicalein may be to block HCMV infection at entry while the primary mechanism of action for genistein may be to block HCMV immediate-early protein functioning.