Lysine for Management of Herpes Labialis

Frankie A. Tomblin, Jr., Pharm.D. and Kristy H. Lucas, Pharm.D.

Disclosures

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2001;58(4) 

In This Article

Pharmacology

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is highly dependent on the amino acid arginine for reproduction.[3] Griffith et al.[4] reported that high intracellular concentrations of lysine (50 (µg/mL [342 µM]) inhibit reproduction of HSV in tissue cultures by acting as a competitive inhibitor of arginine. However, Park and colleagues [5] found that a lysine concentration of 200 µM did not impede replication. The contradictory findings of these two studies may be due to the different concentrations of lysine achieved intracellularly by different tissue types (the Griffith et al. study used Green monkey kidney cells, and the Park et al. study used trigeminal ganglion cells from albino mice). Thein and Hurt's study 6 of 26 volunteers with frequent recurrences of herpes labialis showed that serum lysine concentrations greater than 165 µM (24 mg/mL) were necessary to significantly decrease the recurrence rate. However, the exact serum lysine concentration required is controversial.

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