Echinacea purpurea polysaccharide reduces the latency rate in herpes simplex virus type-1 infections.
The following article gives another use for the widely used Echinacea plant.
OBJECTIVE: During the latency period of herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1), the virus can occasionally reactivate, travel back to the eye and cause recurrent ocular disease. As this condition arises from the ability of HSV-1 to produce a dormant infection, effective medication to prevent the virus enter a latent state should prevent it. In this study, we applied Echinacea polysaccharide (EP) fraction as prophylactic mediator for latency prevention. METHODS: In order to investigate the protective properties of EP, we evaluated its immunostimulatory functions on different immune aspects that play important roles in latency prevention (particularly IFN-gamma as one of the main indicators of cellular immunity and latency). Finally, we assessed establishment of latency by detection of thymidine kinase gene in trigeminal ganglia of BALB/c mice. RESULTS: We demonstrated that EP promotes immune response, leading to a reduced latency rate, and it has a promising effect on latency prevention. CONCLUSION: EP was able to exert an antiviral action on the development of recurrent HSV-1 disease when supplied prior to infection. Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.