Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Sandra Adams

Committee Member

Quinn Vega

Committee Member

Carlos Molina


Herpes simplex virus 1 is a common human pathogen that causes an initial productive infection followed by a lifelong latent infection of sensory neurons. Although the active infection is self-limiting in healthy populations, HSV can pose serious health risks to immunocompromised individuals. Furthermore, drug-resistant strains of HSV-1 have emerged in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) afflicted populations, necessitating the development of efficacious treatment options to combat HSV-1 infections. In recent years, plant derived products have gained popularity as promising antiviral agents. Studies of plant-derived compounds, including polysaccharide extracts from algae and hydrolyzable tannins, indicated that antiviral activity may be contributed to the plant extract’s inhibition of binding and penetration of the virus in cell cultures. Curcumin, a polyphenol derived from the Curcuma longa plant, has gained attention as an antiviral therapeutic agent after research publications suggested the compound exhibits antioxidant, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, and microbicidal properties. Curcumin has demonstrated in previous studies to modulate numerous cellular signaling pathways. Additionally, curcumin has been indicated as an effective inhibitor of HSV-2 in HeLa cell cultures and as an inhibitor of HSV-1 infectivity, immediate-early gene expression and replication in Vero cell cultures. The results of this study suggest that curcumin indeed exhibits antiviral properties against HSV-1 in Vero cell cultures. HSV-1 viral particles appeared to successfully bind and penetrate Vero cells. However, the replication of the virus was interrupted after the virus gained entrance to the Vero cells, resulting in a reduction in HSV-1 titer for the Infectious Dose 50 (ID 5o)and diminished signal strength of HSV-1 in curcumin-treated ceils as viewed by gel electrophoresis. This evidence supports the inhibitory effects of curcumin on HSV-1, warranting further investigation into the antiviral capacities of this biologically active plant-derived compound.

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Biology Commons