Green Tea Polyphenol Inhibits HCV Entry Into Hepatocytes

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate blocks infection of cells by extracellular virions, cell-to-cell spread

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a green tea polyphenol, strongly inhibits the entry of hepatitis C virus (HCV) into primary human hepatocytes, according to a study published in the December issue of Hepatology.

Sandra Ciesek, M.D., from the Hannover Medical School in Germany, and colleagues investigated the effects of green tea catechins on HCV, and explored the mechanism underlying their antiviral effects.

The investigators found that HCV RNA replication, assembly, and release of progeny virions were unaffected by EGCG. Cell-culture-derived HCV entry into hepatoma cell lines and primary human hepatocytes was potently inhibited by EGCG, independent of HCV genotype. EGCG blocked the infection of cells by extracellular virions and cell-to-cell spread. HCV infection was not reduced by pretreatment of cells with EGCG before HCV inoculation. However, HCV infectivity was strongly inhibited by the application of, and treatment with, EGCG during HCV inoculation. EGCG did not alter the expression levels of all known HCV (co-)receptors. EGCG disrupted the initial step of HCV cell entry by inhibiting the viral attachment to the cell.

"The green tea molecule, EGCG, potently inhibits HCV entry and could be part of an antiviral strategy aimed at the prevention of HCV reinfection after liver transplantation," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Epiphany Biosciences, which develops new therapeutics and diagnostic technologies that treat or prevent spread of viral diseases.

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