BioScience Trends. 2016;10(5):327-336. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2016.01110)

Advance in studies on traditional Chinese medicines to treat infection with the hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus.

Xia JF, Inagaki Y, Song PP, Sawakami T, Kokudo N, Hasegawa K, Sakamoto Y, Tang W


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), as a type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), is a sophisticated and time-honored form of healthcare in China. Many TCMs are widely used to treat hepatitis B and hepatitis C in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea. Since conventional clinical preparations like interferon-α cause obvious dose-dependent adverse reactions and drug resistance, TCMs and related bioactive compounds have garnered increasing attention from physicians and medical researchers. Thus far, a number of TCMs and compounds have been used to inhibit the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) in vitro, in vivo, and even in clinical trials. The current review summarizes TCMs and related compounds that have been used to inhibit HBV or HCV. Most of these medicines are derived from herbs. HepG2.2.15 cells have been used to study HBV in vitro and Huh7.5 cells have been similarly used to study HCV. Ducks have been used to study the anti-HBV effect of new medication in vivo, but there are few animal models for anti-HCV research at the present time. Thus far, a number of preclinical studies have been conducted but few clinical trials have been conducted. In addition, a few chemically modified compounds have displayed greater efficacy than natural products. However, advances in TCM research are hampered by mechanisms of action of many bioactive compounds that have yet to be identified. In short, TCMs and related active compounds are a CAM that could be used to treat HBV and HCV infections.

KEYWORDS: Traditional Chinese medicine, active compounds, HBV, HCV, clinical trials

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