In Vitro Synergism of Trifluorothymidine and Ganciclovir Against HSV-1

Funding Source

National Institutes of Health, LSU Eye Center Core Grant for Vision Research

Grant Number

EY002622, EY006311, EY02377


Department of Biology

Document Type


Publication Date



Purpose. To determine whether trifluorothymidine (TFT) and ganciclovir (GCV) are synergistic against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).Methods. TFT and GCV activity against 12 strains of HSV-1 (including an acyclovir-resistant strain) was measured by plaque-forming unit (PFU) inhibition. Cellular toxicity was assessed with an MTT dye reduction assay. Synergism was determined by calculating fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC indices) based on PFU reduction. Results. Concentrations of TFT resulting in 50% inhibition of PFUs (IC50) of acyclovir-susceptible HSV-1 strains ranged from 307 ± 0.36 to 12.52 ± 0.61 μM. GCV IC50 values ranged from 0.40 ± 0.02 to 1.59 ± 0.14 μM. IC50 values of TFT and GCV against the acyclovir-resistant strain were 15.40 ± 317 and 93.00 ± 9.64 μM, respectively. Concentrations of TFT or GCV resulting in 50% cell cytotoxicity (CC50) were 0.99 ± 0.01 and 92.91 ± 8.92; μM, respectively. TFT and GCV combined (10:1) were 10 times more potent against all acyclovir-susceptible HSV-1 strains. For 8 of 12 HSV-1 strains, the IC50 of TFT and GCV combined was lower than the CC50 of either drug. For acyclovir-susceptible HSV-1 strains, TFT and GCV combined generated a FIC index of <0.5, suggesting strong synergism between the two drugs. The FIC value for TFT and GCV combined against the acyclovir-resistant HSV-1 strain was 0.84, indicating nonantagonism.


DOI: 10.1167/iovs.10-5671

PubMed ID: 20861476