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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Appraisal of potential therapeutic index of antioxidants on the basis of their in vitro effects on HIV replication in monocytes and interleukin 2-induced lymphocyte proliferation.

Antioxidant molecules have been suggested to be of therapeutic value in the treatment of HIV-infected patients. To evaluate this possibility, we examined in vitro the effects of two types of antioxidant molecules in terms of inhibition of HIV replication in monocytes, one of the main reservoirs of HIV, and also in terms of modulation of the immune competence as measured by PBMC proliferation. We tested the effects of BHA, a phenolic, lipid-soluble, chain-breaking antioxidant, and NAC, a known glutathione precursor with some direct free-radical scavenging properties as well, on the regulation of HIV-1 expression in latently infected U1 cells and in productively and chronically infected U937 cells. Both antioxidants inhibited TNF- or PMA-induced NF-kappa B activity in U1 cells, as well as the sustained NF-kappa B activity permanently induced by the virus itself in chronically HIV-infected U937 cells. This resulted in only a partial inhibition of TNF- or PMA-induced HIV replication in U1 cells, and no detectable effect on HIV replication in chronically infected U937 cells. This may be the first limitation to potential antiviral effects of antioxidant therapies. Another limitation is that antioxidant concentrations high enough to block NK-kappa B activation were shown to have a suppressive effect on immune functions in vitro, because NAC and BHA blocked IL-2-induced PBMC proliferation. These data warrant prudence in the design of antioxidant-based therapies aimed at suppressing HIV replication.[1]


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