Background: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is an immunosuppressive disease that results in life-threatening opportunistic infections. The general problems in current therapy include the constant emergence of drug-resistant HIV strains, adverse side effects and the unavailability of treatments in developing countries. Natural products from herbs with the abilities to inhibit HIV-1 life cycle at different stages, have served as excellent sources of new anti-HIV-1 drugs. In this study, we aimed to investigate the anti-HIV-1 activity of aqueous dandelion extract.
Methods: The pseudotyped HIV-1 virus has been utilized to explore the anti-HIV-1 activity of dandelion, the level of HIV-1 replication was assessed by the percentage of GFP-positive cells. The inhibitory effect of the dandelion extract on reverse transcriptase activity was assessed by the reverse transcriptase assay kit.
Results: Compared to control values obtained from cells infected without treatment, the level of HIV-1 replication and reverse transcriptase activity were decreased in a dose-dependent manner. The data suggest that dandelion extract has a potent inhibitory activity against HIV-1 replication and reverse transcriptase activity. The identification of HIV-1 antiviral compounds from Taraxacum officinale should be pursued.
Conclusions: The dandelion extract showed strong activity against HIV-1 RT and inhibited both the HIV-1 vector and the hybrid-MoMuLV/MoMuSV retrovirus replication. These findings provide additional support for the potential therapeutic efficacy of Taraxacum officinale. Extracts from this plant may be regarded as another starting point for the development of an antiretroviral therapy with fewer side effects.