The Activity of Chelidonium majus L. Latex and Its Components on HPV Reveal Insights into the Antiviral Molecular Mechanism

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Aug 17;23(16):9241. doi: 10.3390/ijms23169241.


Yellow-orange latex of Chelidonium majus L. has been used in folk medicine as a therapeutic agent against warts and other visible symptoms of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections for centuries. The observed antiviral and antitumor properties of C. majus latex are often attributed to alkaloids contained therein, but recent studies indicate that latex proteins may also play an important role in its pharmacological activities. Therefore, the aim of the study was to investigate the effect of the crude C. majus latex and its protein and alkaloid-rich fractions on different stages of the HPV replication cycle. The results showed that the latex components, such as alkaloids and proteins, decrease HPV infectivity and inhibit the expression of viral oncogenes (E6, E7) on mRNA and protein levels. However, the crude latex and its fractions do not affect the stability of structural proteins in HPV pseudovirions and they do not inhibit the virus from attaching to the cell surface. In addition, the protein fraction causes increased TNFα secretion, which may indicate the induction of an inflammatory response. These findings indicate that the antiviral properties of C. majus latex arise both from alkaloids and proteins contained therein, acting on different stages of the viral replication cycle.

Keywords: Chelidonium majus L.; HPV pseudovirions; alkaloids; antiviral activity; defense-related proteins; greater celandine; human papillomavirus; plant latex.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Chelidonium* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Latex* / chemistry
  • Latex* / pharmacology
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / drug therapy
  • Plant Proteins / pharmacology


  • Alkaloids
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Latex
  • Plant Proteins