Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the leading risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and chronic liver disease worldwide. Green tea, in addition to being consumed as a healthy beverage, contains phenolic catechins that have been used as medicinal substances. In the present study, we illustrated that the epicatechin isomers (+)-epicatechin and (-)-epicatechin concentration-dependently inhibited HCV replication at nontoxic concentrations by using in vitro cell-based HCV replicon and JFH-1 infectious systems. In addition to significantly suppressing virus-induced cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression, our results revealed that the anti-HCV activity of the epicatechin isomers occurred through the down-regulation of COX-2. Furthermore, both the epicatechin isomers additively inhibited HCV replication in combination with either interferon-α or viral enzyme inhibitors [2′-C-methylcytidine (NM-107) or telaprevir]. They also had prominent anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the gene expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and inducible nitrite oxide synthase as well as the COX-2 in viral protein-expressing hepatoma Huh-7 cells. Collectively, (+)-epicatechin and (-)-epicatechin may serve as therapeutic supplements for treating HCV-related diseases. © 2013 Lin et al.
Lin, Y. T., Wu, Y. H., Tseng, C. K., Lin, C. K., Chen, W. C., Hsu, Y. C., & Lee, J. C. (2013). Green Tea Phenolic Epicatechins Inhibit Hepatitis C Virus Replication via Cycloxygenase-2 and Attenuate Virus-Induced Inflammation. PLoS ONE, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0054466