Musarra-Pizzo, M., R. Pennisi, I. Ben-Amor, A. Smeriglio, G. Mandalari, M.T. Sciortino, 2020. In vitro anti-HSV-1 activity of polyphenol-rich extracts and pure polyphenol compounds derived from pistachios kernels (Pistacia vera L.). Plants. 9, 267; doi:10.3390/plants9020267.
Natural compounds are a prominent source of novel antiviral drugs. Several reports have previously shown the antimicrobial activity of pistachio polyphenol extracts. Therefore, the aim of our research was to investigate the activity of polyphenol-rich extracts of natural shelled (NPRE) pistachios kernels (Pistacia vera L.) on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) replication. The Vero cell line was used to assess the cytotoxicity and antiviral activity. The cell viability was calculated by detection of cellular ATP after treatment with various concentrations of NPRE. For antiviral studies, five nontoxic-concentrations (0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8 mg/mL) were tested. Our study demonstrated that treatment with NPRE (0.4, 0.6, 0.8 mg/mL) reduced the expression of the viral proteins ICP8 (infected cell polypeptide 8), UL42 (unique long UL42 DNA polymerase processivity factor), and US11 (unique short US11 protein), and resulted in a decrease of viral DNA synthesis. The 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50), 50% inhibitory concentration (EC50), and the selectivity index (SI) values for NPRE were 1.2 mg/mL, 0.4mg/mL, and 3, respectively. Furthermore, we assessed the anti-herpetic effect of a mix of pure polyphenol compounds (NS MIX) present in NPRE. In conclusion, our findings indicate that natural shelled pistachio kernels have remarkable inhibitory activity against HSV-1.