Hepatitis C is a major health problem affecting 270 million individuals in world including Pakistan. Current treatment regimen, interferon alpha and ribavirin only cure half of patients due to side effects and high cost.
In the present study Silybum marianum (Milk thistle) seeds were collected, extracted and analyzed against HCV 3a core gene by transiently transfecting the liver cells with HCV core plasmid. Our results demonstrated that Silymarin (SM) dose dependently inhibit the expression or function of HCV core gene at a non toxic concentration while the GAPDH remained constant. To identify the active ingredient, SM was fractioned by thin layer chromatography (TLC), column chromatography and HPLC. Purified fractions were tested for HCV core gene and western blotting results showed that two factions of SM (S1 and S2) inhibit HCV 3a core expression or function in liver cells
Our results suggest SM and its fractions (S1 and S2) inhibit HCV core gene of 3a genotype and combination of SM and its fractions with interferon will be a better option to treat HCV infection.