Macrophage protection against human immunodeficiency virus or herpes simplex virus by red blood cell-mediated delivery of a heterodinucleotide of azidothymidine and acyclovir

Luigia Rossi, Giorgio Brandi, Giuditta F. Schiavano, Emanuela Balestra, Enrico Millo, Sonia Scarfi, Gianluca Damonte, Anna Gasparini, Mauro Magnani, Carlo Federico Perno, Umberto Benatti, Antonio De Flora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Human herpesvirus (HSVs) are distributed worldwide and are among the most frequent causes of viral infection in HIV-1-immunocompromised patients. Hence, therapeutic strategies able to inhibit HSV-1 and HIV-1 replication are sorely needed. Until now, the most common therapies against HSV-1 and HIV-1 infectivity have been based on the administration of nucleoside analogs; however, to be active, these antiviral drugs must be converted to their triphosphorylated derivatives by viral and/or cellular kinases. At the cellular level, the main problems involved in the use of such drugs are their limited phosphorylation in some cells (e.g., antiretroviral drugs in macrophages) and the cytotoxic side effects of nucleoside analog triphosphates. To overcome these limitations, a new heterodinucleotide (AZTp2ACV) consisting of both an antiretroviral and an antiherpetic drug, bound by a pyrophosphate bridge, was designed and synthesized. The impermeant AZTp2ACV was encapsulated into autologous erythrocytes modified to increase their recognition and phagocytosis by human macrophages. Once inside macrophages, metabolic activation of the drug occurred. The addition of AZTp2ACV-loaded erythrocytes to human macrophages provided effective and almost complete in vitro protection from HIV-1 and HSV-1 replications, respectively. Therefore, AZTp2ACV acts as an efficient antiviral prodrug following selective targeting to macrophages by means of loaded erythrocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-444
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Volume14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology

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