Oleanolic acid is a triterpenoid compound that is widespread in
nature, in particular it occurs in leaves of Olea europea L.
(Oleaceae). It has been long recognized to have hepatoprotective,
antiinflammatory, and antihyperlipidemic properties. Recently
oleanolic acid has been noted for its antitumor-promotion effect.
Little is known about the antiviral activity of this compound. In
this study the effect of oleanolic acid on the growth of HIV-1 in
cultures of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was
investigated Both oleanolic acid and ursolic acid are effective in
protecting against chemically induced liver injury in laboratory
animals. Oleanolic acid has been marketed in China as an oral drug
for human liver disorders. The mechanism of hepatoprotection by
these two compounds may involve the inhibition of toxicant
activation and the enhancement of the body defense systems.
Oleanolic acid and ursolic acid have also been long-recognized to
have antiinflammatory and antihyperlipidemic properties in
laboratory animals, and more research is warranted to develop a
therapy for patients. Recently, both compounds have been noted for
their antitumor-promotion effects, which are stimulating additional
research in this field. Oleanolic acid and ursolic acid are
relatively non-toxic, and have been used in cosmetics and health
products. The possible mechanisms for the pharmacological effects
and the prospects for these two compounds are discussed.