Activity of Porphyridium sp. polysaccharide against herpes simplex viruses in vitro and in vivo

Mahmoud Huheihel, Vladimir Ishanu, Jacov Tal, Shoshana Arad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


The cell wall sulfated polysaccharide of the red microalga Porphyridium sp. exhibited impressive antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and -2) both in vitro (cell culture) and in vivo (rats and rabbits). Depending on the concentration, this polysaccharide completely inhibited or slowed down the development of the cytopathic effect in HSV-infected cells, but did not show any cytotoxic effects on vero cells even when a concentration as high as 250 μg/ml was used. There was indirect evidence for a strong interaction between the polysaccharide and HSV and a weak interaction with the cell surface. When tested in vivo, Porphyridium sp. polysaccharide conferred significant and efficient protection against HSV-1 infection: at a concentration as low as 100 μg/ml, it prevented the appearance and development of symptoms of HSV-1 infection in rats and rabbits. The polysaccharide did not exhibit any cytotoxic effects at a concentration of 2 mg/ml in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biochemical and Biophysical Methods
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 4 Jan 2002


  • Antiviral activity
  • Cytopathic effect
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Porphyridium sp. polysaccharide
  • Red microalgae
  • Sulfated polysaccharide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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