Characterization of antiviral activity of lactoferrin against hepatitis C virus infection in human cultured cells

Masanori Ikeda, Akito Nozaki, Kazuo Sugiyama, Torahiko Tanaka, Atsushi Naganuma, Katsuaki Tanaka, Hisahiko Sekihara, Kunitada Shimotohno, Masaki Saito, Nobuyuki Kato

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144 Citations (Scopus)


We recently found that bovine lactoferrin (bLF), a milk glycoprotein belonging to the iron transporter family, prevented hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in human hepatocyte PH5CH8 cells, that are susceptible to HCV infection, and demonstrated that the anti-HCV activity of bLF was due to the interaction of bLF and HCV. In this study we further characterized the anti- HCV activity of bLF and the mechanism by which bLF prevents HCV infection. We found that bLF inhibited viral entry to the cells by interacting directly with HCV immediately after mixing of bLF and HCV inoculum. The anti-HCV activity of bLF was lost by heating at 65°C, and other milk proteins (mucin, β-lactoglobulin and casein) did not prevent HCV infection, indicating that bLF prevented HCV infection in a rather specific manner. Furthermore, we found that bovine lactoferricin, a basic N-terminal loop of bLF that is an important region for antibacterial activity, did not exhibit any anti-HCV activity, suggesting that some other region is involved in anti-HCV activity. We confirmed that prevention of HCV infection by bLF was a general phenomenon, because bLF inhibited HCV infection with all five inocula examined, and bLF inhibited HCV infection in human MT-2C T-cells, that were susceptible to HCV infection. In addition, infection with hepatitis G virus, which is distantly related to HCV, was prevented also by bLF. In conclusion, lactoferrin is a natural glycoprotein which effectively protects against HCV infection in hepatocytes and lymphocytes by neutralizing the virus. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalVirus research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000


  • Bovine lactoferrin
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Hepatitis G virus
  • MT-2C cells
  • PH5CH8 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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