Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a common pathogen that infects 50-90% of the world's population and causes a variety of diseases, some of which can be life-threatening. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been shown to have broad-spectrum antiviral activity. In this study, we investigated the activity of AgNPs against HSV-1 and found that AgNPs effectively inhibited plaque formation and HSV-1 progeny production, reduced the genomic load, and interfered with HSV-1 mRNA expression and protein synthesis. Transmission electron microscopy showed that AgNPs interacted with HSV-1 and altered the shape of the viral particles. Furthermore, AgNPs affected the entry of HSV-1 into cells as well as their release and cell-to-cell spread. AgNPs were also found to downregulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines upon HSV-1 infection. Combined treatment with AgNPs and acyclovir (ACV) confirmed that AgNPs significantly enhanced the inhibitory effect of ACV against HSV-1. Our findings may contribute to an understanding of the mechanism of the antiviral effect of AgNPs against HSV-1 and help to provide a theoretical basis for their clinical application.
© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature.