Anti-HIV-1 activity of eight monofloral Iranian honey types

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 21;9(10):e108195. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108195. eCollection 2014.


Monofloral Iranian honeys from eight floral sources were analyzed to determine their anti-HIV-1 activities as well as their effects on lymphocyte proliferation. The Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) used in this study were prepared from five healthy volunteers who were seronegative for HIV, HCV, HBV and TB. The anti-HIV-1 activity of eight different honeys was performed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and high pure viral nucleic acid kit. The results demonstrated that monofloral honeys from Petro selinum sativum, Nigella sativa, Citrus sinensis, Zataria multiflora, Citrus aurantium and Zizyphus mauritiana flowers had potent anti-HIV-1 activity with half maximal effective concentration (EC50) values of 37.5, 88, 70, 88, 105 and 5 µg/ml respectively. However, monofloral Iranian honeys from Astragalus gummifer and Chamaemelum nobile flowers had weak anti-HIV-1 activity. The frequency and intensity of CD4 expression on PBMCs increased in the presence of all honey types. CD19 marker were also increased after the treatment with monofloral honeys from Z. multiflora and N. sativa. The anti-HIV-1 agent in monofloral honeys from P. sativum, N. sativa, Z. multiflora and Z. mauritiana flowers was detected by spectroscopic analysis as methylglyoxal. Time of drug addition studies demonstrated that the inhibitory effect of methylglyoxal is higher on the late stage of HIV-1 infection. The result demonstrated that methylglyoxal isolated from monofloral honey types is a good candidate for preclinical evaluation of anti-HIV-1 therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-HIV Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antigens, CD19 / metabolism
  • CD4 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Flowers / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Honey / analysis*
  • Honey / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Plants / chemistry
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Pyruvaldehyde / chemistry
  • Pyruvaldehyde / isolation & purification
  • Pyruvaldehyde / pharmacology
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Antigens, CD19
  • CD4 Antigens
  • RNA, Viral
  • Pyruvaldehyde

Grants and funding

This work has been done in Isfahan University and supported by Isfahan University. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.