Rotavirus (RV) is the primary causative agent for viral gastroenteritis among infants and young children worldwide. Currently, no clinically approved and effective antiviral drug for the treatment of RV infection is available.
We investigated the potential anti-RV activity of resveratrol and underlying mechanisms by which resveratrol acted against RV.
The anti-RV activity of resveratrol in vitro was evaluated using plaque reduction assays. The effects of resveratrol on yield of virion progeny, viral polyprotein expression and genomic RNA synthesis were respectively investigated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, western blotting and qRT-PCR assays. Further, we also measured the antiviral effect of resveratrol by evaluation of antigen clearance and assessment of changes in proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines in RV-infected neonatal mouse model.
Our results indicated that 20 μM of resveratrol significantly inhibited RV replication in Caco-2 cell line by suppressing RV RNA synthesis, protein expression, viroplasm plaque formation, progeny virion production, and RV-induced cytopathy independent of the different strains and cell lines of RV that we used. Analysis of the effect of time post-addition of resveratrol indicated that its application inhibited early processes in the RV replication cycle. Further study of the underlying mechanism of anti-RV activity indicated that resveratrol inhibited RV replication by suppressing expression of heat-shock protein 90 (HSP90) mRNA and protein, and that the effect occurred in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of HSP90 was found to have attenuated the inhibitory effect of resveratrol on RV replication. Interestingly, the application of resveratrol were found to down-regulate the level of inhibition of RV-mediated MEK1/2 and ERK phosphorylation. Using a RV-infected suckling mice model, we found that application of resveratrol significantly lessened the severity of diarrhea, decreased viral titers, and relieved associated symptoms. Levels of mRNA expression of interleukin-2, interleukin-10, tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ, macrophage inflammatory protein 1, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 were all found to have been sharply reduced in intestinal tissue from mice which had been treated with resveratrol (10 or 20 mg/kg) after RV infection (p < 0.05).
These findings implied that resveratrol exhibits antiviral activity and could be a promising treatment for rotavirus infection.

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