Virucidal Activity of Human Α- and Β-defensins against Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 4

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the major etiological agent of human non-A and non-B hepatitis affecting about 180 million people worldwide. The goal of the current study was to find effective anti-HCV proteins. As a result, defensins were selected as promising candidates due to their well-known anti-viral potential and small size. We conducted in vitro evaluation of two kinds of defensins (human α- and β-defensins and synthetic linear avian α-defensins) using tissue culture combined with reverse transcription nested PCR (RT-nested-PCR) and real-time PCR. Human α- and β-defensins showed strong anti-HCV activity in experiments on cellular protection, neutralization, and treatment at all concentrations used (10, 20 and 50 μg). The synthetic linear defensins could reach similar anti-HCV potential only at a noticeably higher concentration (250 μg) and do not show noticeable activity at 10 and 20 μg. This study suggests that defensins are potent anti-HCV agents.

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Molecular BioSystems, v. 12, issue 9, p. 2785-2797