Antiviral properties of isoborneol, a potent inhibitor of herpes simplex virus type 1

Antiviral Res. 1999 Sep;43(2):79-92. doi: 10.1016/s0166-3542(99)00036-4.


Isoborneol, a monoterpene and a component of several plant essential oils, showed dual viricidal activity against herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). First, it inactivated HSV-1 by almost 4 log10 values within 30 min of exposure, and second, isoborneol at a concentration of 0.06% completely inhibited viral replication, without affecting viral adsorption. Isoborneol did not exhibit significant cytotoxicity at concentrations ranging between 0.016% and 0.08% when tested against human and monkey cell lines. Isoborneol specifically inhibited glycosylation of viral polypeptides based on the following data: (1) the mature fully glycosylated forms of two viral glycoproteins gB and gD were not detected when the virus was replicated in the presence of isoborneol, (2) no major changes were observed in the glycosylation pattern of cellular polypeptides between untreated and isoborneol treated Vero cells, (3) isoborneol did not affect the glycosylation of gB produced from a copy of the gB gene resident in the cellular genome, and (4) other monoterpenes such as 1,8-cineole and borneol, a stereoisomer of isoborneol, did not inhibit HSV-1 glycosylation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / toxicity
  • Camphanes / pharmacology*
  • Camphanes / toxicity
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Glycosylation / drug effects
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / drug effects*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / physiology
  • Humans
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Plaque Assay
  • Virus Activation / drug effects
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Camphanes
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein B, Simplexvirus
  • glycoprotein D, Human herpesvirus 1
  • isoborneol