Background: Monocytes/Macrophages (M/M) play a pivotal role as a source of virus during the whole course of HIV-1 infection. Enhanced oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection. HIV-1 regulatory proteins induce a reduction of the expression and the activity of MnSOD, the mitochondrial isoform leading to a sustained generation of superoxide anions and peroxynitrite that represent important mediators of HIV-1 replication in M/M. MnTBAP (Mn(III)tetrakis(4-benzoic acid)porphrin chloride), a synthetic peroxynitrite decomposition catalyst, reduced oxidative stress subsequent to peroxynitrite generation. Results: Virus production was assessed by p24 ELISA, western blot, and electron microscopy during treatment with MnTBAP. MnTBAP treatment showed a reduction of HIV-1 replication in both acutely and chronically infected M/M: 99% and 90% inhibition of p24 released in supernatants compared to controls, respectively. Maturation of p55 and p24 was strongly inhibited by MnTBAP in both acutely and chronically infected M/ M. EC50 and EC90 are 3.7 (± 0.05) μM and 19.5 (± 0.5) μM, in acutely infected M/M; 6.3 (± 0.003) μM and 30 (± 0.6) μM, in chronically infected M/M. In acutely infected peripheral blood limphocytes (PBL), EC50 and EC90 are 7.4 (± 0.06) μM and of 21.3 (± 0.6) μM, respectively. Treatment of acutely-infected M/M with MnTBAP inhibited the elevated levels of malonildialdehyde (MDA) together with the nitrotyrosine staining observed during HIV-1 replication. MnTBAP strongly reduced HIV-1 particles in infected M/M, as shown by electron microscopy. Moreover, in presence of MnTBAP, HIV-1 infectivity was reduced of about 1 log compared to control. Conclusion: Results supportthe role of superoxide anions in HIV-1 replication in M/M and suggest that MnTBAP may counteract HIV-1 replication in combination with other antiretroviral treatments.
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