The Effect of Root, Shoot and Seed Extracts of The Iranian Thymus L. (Family: Lamiaceae) Species on HIV-1 Replication and CD4 Expression

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Advanced Sciences and Technologies, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Immunology, Medical Sciences Faculty, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


The genus Thymus L. is a cushion plant that was previously used for the treatment of bronchitis and rheumatism. The present investigation was carried out to study the effects of root, shoot, leaf and seed extracts of five Thymus species and subspecies on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) toxicity and HIV-1 replication.
Materials and Methods
In this experimental study, the activity of the Thymus extracts on HIV-1 replication and lymphocytes population were examined respectively using HIV-1 p24 Antigen kit and flow-cytometer. The Thymus species effect was investigated, including Thymus kotschyanus, Thymus vulgaris, Thymus carmanicus, Thymus daenensis subspecies lancifolius and Thymus daenensis subspecies daenensis.
The effect of root methanol extracts of all species on PBMCs proliferation was significantly higher than the other extracts. The intensity of CD4, CD3 and CD45 were decreased in the presence of all root extracts. Although the average median fluorescence intensity (MFI) values of CD19 were increased in the cells treated with these extracts. All methanol extracts showed anti-HIV-1 activity at high concentrations (200 and 500 µg/ml). Anti-HIV-1 activity of Thymus daenensis subspecies daenensis was significantly more than the other species.
These results demonstrated that root extracts of Thymus species might be a good candidate to investigate anti-HIV infection in vivo.