Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Grapefruit Compound May Help Combat Hepatitis C Infection

Date:
February 4, 2008
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
A compound that naturally occurs in grapefruit and other citrus fruits may be able to block the secretion of hepatitis C virus from infected cells, a process required to maintain chronic infection. Scientists report that the viral secretion required to pass on infection may be blocked by the common flavonoid naringenin.

A compound that naturally occurs in grapefruit and other citrus fruits may be able to block the secretion of hepatitis C virus (HCV) from infected cells, a process required to maintain chronic infection. A team of researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Engineering in Medicine (MGH-CEM) report that HCV is bound to very low-density lipoprotein (vLDL, a so-called "bad" cholesterol) when it is secreted from liver cells and that the viral secretion required to pass infection to other cells may be blocked by the common flavonoid naringenin.

Related Articles


If the results of this study extend to human patients, a combination of naringenin and antiviral medication might allow patient to clear the virus from their livers.

"By finding that HCV is secreted from infected cells by latching onto vLDL, we have identified a key pathway in the viral lifecycle," says Yaakov Nahmias, PhD, of the MGH-CEM, the paper's lead author.* "These results suggest that lipid-lowering drugs, as well as supplements, such as naringenin, may be combined with traditional antiviral therapies to reduce or even eliminate HCV from infected patients."

HCV is the leading cause of chronic viral liver disease in the United States and infects about 3 percent of the world population. Current antiviral medications are effective in only half of infected patients, 70 percent of whom develop chronic infection that can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. Since the virus does not integrate its genetic material into the DNA of infected cells the way HIV does, totally clearing the virus could be possible if new cells were not being infected by secreted virus.

"Identifying the route by which HCV is released from cells introduces a new therapeutic target," says Martin Yarmush, MD, PhD, director of the MGH-CEM and the paper's senior author. "That pathway's dependence on cholesterol metabolism could allow us to interfere with viral propagation to other cells and tissues, using tools already developed for atherosclerosis treatment." Yarmush is the Helen Andrus Benedict Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Grapefruit's bitter taste is caused the presence of the flavonoid naringin, which is metabolized into naringenin, an antioxidant previously reported to help lower cholesterol levels. Considerable research has suggested that HCV infects liver cells by, in essence, "hitching a ride" onto the natural lipoprotein-cholesterol metabolic pathway. Since earlier evidence has shown that naringenin can reduce secretion of vLDL from liver cells, the researchers examined whether the compound might also lower HCV secretion from infected cells. Their experiments confirmed that naringenin does reduce the secretion of HCV from infected cell lines and showed that the compound inhibits the mechanism for secreting a specific lipoprotein that binds HCV.

"This work presents the possibility that non-toxic levels of a dietary supplement, such as naringenin, could effectively block HCV secretion," says Raymond Chung, MD, MGH director of Hepatology and one of the study authors, "This approach might eventually be used to treat patients who do not respond to or cannot take traditional interferon-based treatment or be used in combination with other agents to boost success rates."

*The report will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Hepatology and has been released online. Chung is an associate professor of Medicine at HMS, and Nahmias is an instructor in Surgery and Bioengineering. Additional co-authors of the Hepatology paper are Jonathan Goldwasser, Monica Casali, PhD, Daan van Poll, MD, MGH-CEM; and Takaji Wakita, MD, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute. The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Shriners Hospitals for Children.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Grapefruit Compound May Help Combat Hepatitis C Infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204124110.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2008, February 4). Grapefruit Compound May Help Combat Hepatitis C Infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204124110.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Grapefruit Compound May Help Combat Hepatitis C Infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204124110.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins