Functional foods effective for hepatitis C: Identification of oligomeric proanthocyanidin and its action mechanism.
World J Hepatol. 2014 Dec 27 ;6(12):870-9. PMID: 25544874
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of viral hepatitis and currently infects approximately 170 million people worldwide. An infection by HCV causes high rates of chronic hepatitis (>75%) and progresses to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma ultimately. HCV can be eliminated by a combination of pegylatedα-interferon and the broad-spectrum antiviral drug ribavirin; however, this treatment is still associated with poor efficacy and tolerability and is often accompanied by serious side-effects. While some novel direct-acting antivirals against HCV have been developed recently, high medical costs limit the access to the therapy in cost-sensitive countries. To search for new natural anti-HCV agents, we screened local agricultural products for their suppressive activities against HCV replication using the HCV replicon cell system in vitro. We found a potent inhibitor of HCV RNA expression in the extracts of blueberry leaves and then identified oligomeric proanthocyanidin as the active ingredient. Further investigations into the action mechanism of oligomeric proanthocyanidin suggested that it is an inhibitor of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) such as hnRNP A2/B1. In this review, we presented an overview of functional foods and ingredients efficient for HCV infection, the chemical structural characteristics of oligomeric proanthocyanidin, and its action mechanism.