Protective effect of acetyl-l-carnitine against oxidative stress induced by antiretroviral drugs

Roberta Ferraresi, Leonarda Troiano, Erika Roat, Elisa Nemes, Enrico Lugli, Milena Nasi, Marcello Pinti, Menotti Calvani, Maurizio Iannuccelli, Andrea Cossarizza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both HIV infection per se and antiretroviral drugs might contribute to oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunctions. In this study we assess zidovudine, stavudine and didanosine on U937 and CEM cell lines. All these drugs induced apoptosis and increased intracellular hydrogen peroxide but not superoxide anions. The addition of acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) was able to prevent the pro-oxidant effect of the drugs tested. Supplementation with ALC, deficient in certain cohorts of HIV-infected individuals, especially on high active antiretroviral therapy regimen, has been associated with favourable effects. These data suggest that one of these effects could be a direct anti-oxidant action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6612-6616
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number28-29
Publication statusPublished - Dec 11 2006


  • Acetyl-l-carnitine
  • Apoptosis
  • Flow cytometry
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential
  • NRTIs
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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