Background: Since rotavirus is one of the leading pathogens that cause severe gastroenteritis and represents a serious threat to human and animal health, researchers have been searching for cheap, safe, and effective anti-rotaviral drugs. There is a widespread of interest in using natural products as antiviral agents, and among them, licorice derived from Glycyrrhiza spp. has exerted antiviral properties against several viruses. In this study, anti-rotaviral efficacy of Glycyrrhiza uralensis extract (GUE) as an effective and cheaper remedy without side-effects was evaluated in colostrums-deprived piglets after induction of rotavirus diarrhea.
Methods: Colostrums-deprived piglets were inoculated with porcine rotavirus K85 (G5P) strain. On the onset of diarrhea, piglets were treated with different concentration of GUE. To evaluate the antiviral efficacy of GUE, fecal consistency score, fecal virus shedding and histological changes of the small intestine, mRNA expression levels of inflammation-related cytokines (IL8, IL10, IFN-β, IFN-γ and TNF-α), signaling molecules (p38 and JNK), and transcription factor (NFκB) in the small intestine and spleen were determined.
Results: Among the dosages (100-400 mg/ml) administrated to animals, 400 mg/ml of GUE cured diarrhea, and markedly improved small intestinal lesion score and fecal virus shedding. mRNA expression levels of inflammation-related cytokines (IL8, IL10, IFN-β, IFN-γ and TNF-α), signaling molecules (p38 and JNK), and transcription factor (NFκB) in the small intestine and spleen were markedly increased in animals with RVA-induced diarrhea, but dose- dependently decreased in GUE treated animals after RVA-induced diarrhea.
Conclusions: GUE cures rotaviral enteritis by coordinating antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects. Therapy of this herbal medicine can be a viable medication for curing rotaviral enteritis in animals and humans.