Table of Contents
Metal-Based Drugs
Volume 5 (1998), Issue 1, Pages 19-23

Effect of Copper Acyclovir Complexes on Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and Type 2 (HSV-1, HSV-2) Infection in Cultured Cells

1Laboratory of Virology, Faculty of Biology, Sofia University, 8 Dragan Tzankov Blvd., Sofia 1421, Bulgaria
2University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Askerceva 5, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia

Received 18 December 1997; Accepted 6 January 1998

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have found that when copper, zinc or cobalt is bound to a suitable ligand, the appropriate complex exhibited a significant anti-HSV effect (Varadinova et al., 1993; 1996). Recently published data by Sagripanti et al. (1997) also show that the inhibition of HSV by copper was enhanced by reducing agents and that mechanism of the inactivation is similar as for copper-mediated DNA damage (Aruoma, et al. 1991; Dizdaroglu, et al., 1991; Toyokuni and Sagripanti, 1994). Therefore it was interesting to study the efect of Cu(ll) coordination compounds with acyclovir (ACV) on the replication of HSV in cultured cells. The experiments on cytotoxicity as well as on the activity of three different Cu-ACV complexes [Cu(ACV)2Cl2(H2O)2] = (A); [Cu(ACV)2(H2O)3](NO3)2.H2O = (B) and [Cu(ACV)2(H2O)2](NO3)2] = (C) towards virus replication, with special attention on the growth of ACV-resistant strain R-100 were performed on MDBK cells. ACV was used as a reference compound. The following results were obtained: 1) Increased cell’s viability in the presence of 20-40(g/ml ACV and decreased one in the presence of Cu-ACV complexes with relative level (A) >> (B) > (C); 2) Cu-ACV complexes are more cytotoxic than the ligand - ACV and the relative level is (C)>(B)>(A); 3) The anti-HSV effect of ACV can be modulated by copper at levels depending on the specificity of the particular virus strain: (i) for the ACV sensitive strain DA (HSV-1) - ACV ((A) > (C) > (B); (ii) for the ACV sensitive strain Bja (HSV-2) (A) > ACV > (C) > (B); (iii) for strain R-100 ( ACVR, TKa) - (A) > ACV > (C) > (B). This findings are consistent with previously published data and undoubtedly show that Cu-ACV complexes could be useful in the treatment of HSV infections, especially when the causative agent is a resistant to ACV mutant.