Due to the numerous side effects of conventional drugs against herpetic infections and the growing phenomenon of resistance, the researchers turned to natural compounds as a source of new drugs because they are less toxic than the synthetic molecules. This study aimed to analyse the activity of Pistacia vera L. male floral bud extracts, against the replication of herpes simplex virus type 2, as well as to investigate their mode of action, isolate, and identify the active compound. Cell viability and anti-herpes virus activity were performed using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide and the plaque reduction assay, respectively. Three extracts (ethanolic, aqueous and polysaccharide extracts) were tested, only aqueous and polysaccharide extracts had anti-herpetic activity with a selectivity index of 29.12 and 20.25, respectively. Investigation about the mechanism of action indicated that the two active extracts inhibited the virus replication by direct contact with virucidal selectivity indexes of 39.15 and 32.09, respectively. An active compound was isolated from the aqueous extract using TLC bio-guided assay: it was identified as gallic acid by high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-ESI-MSn). The antiviral activity of Pistacia vera L. has been previously shown. The selectivity index of gallic acid is much lower than that of the active extract from which it has been isolated. Therefore, we can consider the aqueous extract prepared from Pistacia vera L. male floral buds as a promising natural product for treating herpetic diseases.
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