In vitro and in vivo effects of Peganum harmala L. seeds extract against influenza A virus

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 Students Research Committee, Medical Plants Research Center, Shahrekord University of Medical Science, Shahrekord, Iran

2 Medical Plants Research Center, Basic Health Sciences Institute, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran

3 Department of Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran


Objective: Influenza A virus infections are still a major health problem and the choices available for the control and treatment of the disease are limited. This research evaluated in vitro and in vivo antiviral effects of Peganum harmala L. seeds (PHS) extract against influenza A virus.
Materials and Methods: In this research, in vitro anti-influenza A virus activity of the extract was assessed in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. In order to evaluate anti-influenza activity of PHS extract in vivo, BALB/c mice were infected with 5LD50 of mouse-adapted influenza virus (H1N1; PR8) and received 200 mg/kg/day of PHS extract or 20 mg/kg/day oseltamivir. Lungs of seven mice per group were removed on day 3 post-infection and lung virus titers were determined by qRT-PCR. Mice survival, body weights and general conditions were observed for up to 14 days post-infection.
Results: The results demonstrated that, the ethanolic extract of PHS possesses high activity against influenza virus with IC50 value of 15.7 (CI95%:11.7-21) μg/ml in MDCK cells. Our results also showed that, oral administration of PHS extract (200 mg/kg/day) or oseltamivir (20 mg/kg/day) to infected mice, increased the survival rate, reduced body weight loss, and decreased lung virus titer.
Conclusion: Based on our findings, P. harmala seeds extract can inhibit influenza A virus replication in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, isolation and characterization of the plant’s active compounds and investigation of the underlying mechanisms of its antiviral action are highly suggested.


Main Subjects

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