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Grapefruit Flavonoid Effective Against Hepatitis C Virus

Lab study shows that short-term stimulation with naringenin significantly inhibits virus secretion

THURSDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- Naringenin, one of the most abundant flavonoids in grapefruit and other citrus fruits, may be a novel treatment for hepatitis C, according to the results of a laboratory study published in the May issue of Hepatology.

Yaakov Nahmias, Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues stimulated infected hepatocytes for 24 hours with 200 μM of naringenin.

The researchers found that naringenin inhibited apolipoprotein B-dependent hepatitis C virus secretion by a mean of 80 percent and the infectivity of the titer by a mean of 79 percent without changing the transcription of the viral RNA. They suggested that the effect was partly due to inhibition of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein activity by a mean of 58 percent, and inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme reductase and acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase 2 transcription. They also found that naringenin concentrations greater than 1,000 μM were not toxic to freshly isolated human hepatocytes.

"The concept of supplementing hepatitis C virus patients' diets with naringenin is appealing," the authors write. "However, it is worth noting that the absorbance of naringenin through the intestinal wall is limited (less than 8 percent) suggesting that short-term therapeutic doses would need to be delivered intravenously."

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