Published online Jan 7, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i1.188
Peer-review started: May 31, 2015
First decision: September 11, 2015
Revised: October 3, 2015
Accepted: November 13, 2015
Article in press: November 13, 2015
Published online: January 7, 2016
Despite that some approved drugs and genetically engineered vaccines against hepatitis B virus (HBV) are available for HBV patients, HBV infection is still a severe public health problem in the world. All the approved therapeutic drugs (including interferon-alpha and nucleoside analogues) have their limitations. No drugs or therapeutic methods can cure hepatitis B so far. Therefore, it is urgently needed to discover and develop new anti-HBV drugs, especially non-nucleoside agents. Naturally originated compounds with enormous molecular complexity and diversity offer a great opportunity to find novel anti-HBV lead compounds with specific antiviral mechanisms. In this review, the natural products against HBV are discussed according to their chemical classes such as terpenes, lignans, phenolic acids, polyphenols, lactones, alkaloids and flavonoids. Furthermore, novel mode of action or new targets of some representative anti-HBV natural products are also discussed. The aim of this review is to report new discoveries and updates pertaining to anti-HBV natural products in the last 20 years, especially novel skeletons and mode of action. Although many natural products with various skeletons have been reported to exhibit potent anti-HBV effects to date, scarcely any of them are found in the list of conventional anti-HBV drugs worldwide. Additionly, in anti-HBV mechanism of action, only a few references reported new targets or novel mode of action of anti-HBV natural products.
Core tip: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection continues to be a significant health problem in the world. The urgent need for new anti-HBV drugs is a global concern. Naturally originated compounds with various skeletons and diverse biological activities provide a large reservoir for finding novel anti-HBV leads or candidates. In this review, the anti-HBV natural products are classified according to their structure types such as terpenes, lignans, phenolic acids, polyphenols, lactones, alkaloids and flavonoids. Furthermore, novel mode of action or new targets of some representative anti-HBV natural products are also discussed.