J Neurovirol. 2023 Aug 2. doi: 10.1007/s13365-023-01160-0. Online ahead of print.
There is an urgent need to find an effective therapy for life-threatening HTLV-1-associated diseases. Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is considered a traditional herb with antiviral and anticancer properties and was tested in this study on HTLV-1 infectivity. GC-MS analyzed the alcoholic extract. In vitro assay was carried out using transfection of HUVEC cells by HTLV-1-MT2 cell line. The cells were exposed to alcoholic and aqueous extracts at 5,10, and 20 µg/mL concentrations. In vivo, mice were divided into four groups. Three groups were treated with HTLV-1-MT-2 cells as test groups and positive control, and PBS as the negative control group in the presence and absence of M. charantia extracts. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs), and splenocytes were collected for HTLV-1-proviral load (PVL) assessment, TaqMan-qPCR. The GC-MS analysis revealed 36 components in M. charantia. The studies showed significant reductions in HTLV-1-PVL in the presence of extract in the HUVEC-treated groups (P = 0.001). Furthermore, the inhibitory effects of extracts on HTLV-1 infected mice showed significant differences in HTLV-1-PVL among M. charantia treated groups with untreated (P = 0.001). The T-cells in MLNs were significantly more susceptible to HTLV-1 than others (P = 0.001). There were significant differences among HTLV-1-infected cells in MLNs and splenocytes (P = 0.001 and 0.046, respectively). Also, aqueous and alcoholic extract-treated groups significantly affected HTLV-1-infected PBMCs (P = 0.002 and 0.009, respectively). M. charantia may have effective antiviral properties. The substantial compound of M. charantia could have inhibitory effects on the proliferation and transmission of HTLV-1 oncovirus.