Aeginetia indica decoction inhibits hepatitis C virus life cycle.
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is still a global epidemic despite the introduction of several highly effective direct-acting antivirals that are tagged with sky-high prices. The present study aimed to identify an herbal decoction that ameliorates HCV infection. Among six herbal decoctions tested, the Aeginetia indica decoction had the most profound effect on the HCV reporter activity in infected Huh7.5.1 liver cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The Aeginetia indica decoction exerted multiple inhibitory effects on the HCV life cycle. Pretreatment of the cells with the Aeginetia indica decoction prior to HCV infection reduced the HCV RNA and non-structural protein 3 (NS3) protein levels in the infected cells. The Aeginetia indica decoction reduced HCV internal ribosome entry site-mediated protein translation activity. It also reduced the HCV RNA level in the infected cells in association with reduced NS5A phosphorylation at serine 235, a predominant phosphorylation event indispensable to HCV replication. Thus, the Aeginetia indica decoction inhibits HCV infection, translation, and replication. Mechanistically, the Aeginetia indica decoction probably reduced HCV replication via reducing NS5A phosphorylation at serine 235.