Photochemistry and photobiology vol:70 issue:5 pages:820-2
Several hypericin derivatives, previously shown to have interesting light-mediated biological activities, were evaluated for antiviral activities against herpes simplex virus and influenza virus. Three brominated hypericins, the dibromo- and tetrabromo-derivatives and the natural compound gymnochrome B were all very active against both viruses, particularly herpes simplex virus, although light was required in all cases for maximum activity. The dibromohypericin was the most potent, under standard assay conditions, gymnochrome B was approximately as active as hypericin itself and tetrabromohypericin significantly less so. Surprisingly, hexamethylhypericin, which is known to have potent anti-protein kinase (PK) C activity, as well as anticell proliferation properties, showed no antiviral activity at all. The compounds were also evaluated in different serum concentrations. All the active compounds were inhibited by increasing concentrations of serum, but to different degrees, such that their relative antiviral potencies changed to some extent. Thus, in summary, there was no correlation between antiviral and anti-PK or anticellular activities, and consequently it is not possible at present to define those structural features of hypericin-type molecules that are required for their various biological activities.