Lactoferrin markedly inhibits hepatitis C virus infection in cultured human hepatocytes

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Apr 17;245(2):549-53. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.1998.8481.


We found that bovine lactoferrin (bLF), a milk protein belonging to the iron transporter family, effectively prevented hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in cultured human hepatocytes (PH5CH8), a cell line susceptible to HCV infection and supportive of HCV replication. Because preincubation of HCV with bLF was required to prevent the infection of HCV to the cells, and preincubation of bLF with the cells showed no inhibitory effect on HCV infection, we demonstrated that the anti-HCV activity of bLF was due to the interaction of bLF with HCV, but not due to the interaction of bLF with the cells. We further found that human lactoferrin also had anti-HCV activity, but bovine transferrin, the other member of the iron transporter family, did not have anti-HCV activity. Our findings suggest that lactoferrin is one of candidates for an anti-HCV reagent that will be well-tolerated and effective in the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line
  • Hepacivirus / drug effects*
  • Hepacivirus / pathogenicity
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / pharmacology*
  • Lactoferrin / therapeutic use
  • Lactoferrin / toxicity
  • Liver / virology*
  • Milk Proteins / pharmacology
  • Milk Proteins / therapeutic use
  • RNA, Viral / analysis


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Milk Proteins
  • RNA, Viral
  • Lactoferrin