Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is one of the most common contagious viruses of the family herpesviridae. It produces infections ranging from painful skin ulcers, corneal damage to encephalitis. Previous studies showed that many isolated compounds from the genus Sarcophyton exhibit significant antiviral activities especially against cytomegalovirus (CMV) and influenza A virus (H1N1 IAV) implicating that extracts of Sarcophyton acutum (S. acutum) may have anti-HSV-1 activity. Some soft corals of the genus Sarcophyton have also previously reported to exert anti-tumor and hepatoprotective effects. Since maintenance of healthy liver is an important aim for overall health, we also assessed the ability of S. acutum extracts on protection of liver against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) toxicity.
Objectives: The present study deals with the evaluation of anti-HSV-1 activity of the total extract of Soft corals S. acutum and its different sub–fractions. The hepatoprotective activity against CCl4 induced liver damage was also studied.
Methods: The maximum non–toxic concentration (MNTC) of the total extract and its sub–fractions on VERO cells were determined by the MTT colorimetric assay. The antiviral activity of the extracts and fractions at MNTC was assessed by measuring its inhibitory effects on HSV-1 comparing with control using MTT colorimetric assay. On the other hand, rat model with CCl4-induced acute hepatitis was used to assess the hepatoprotective activity of the total extract and its sub–fractions.
Results: The results showed that the non-polar, dichloromethane (DCM) and n-hexane, fractions exert the highest HSV-1 inhibitory effect, 60.82% and 46.5%, respectively. The total extract and the methanol fraction (MeOH) exhibited moderate inhibitory effect, 22.26% and 32.45%, respectively. The results of the hepatoprotective experiment showed that CCl4-intoxicated rats suffered from significant elevation in ALT, AST and total bilirubin levels. Treatment of these rats with total extract, and ethyl acetate (EtOAc) fraction resulted in slight decrease in the enzymes level, while treatment with DCM fraction led to moderate decrease of their level compared with the rats treated with standard silymarin (100 mg/kg).
Conclusion: Extracts of S. acutum exhibit obvious anti-HSV-1 effects. They also showed weak hepatoprotective effect.