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Neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists: A new revolution in antiretroviral treatment?

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      HIV infection of macrophages is enhanced in the presence of increased expression of CD163 induced by substance P.

      Activation of NK1R by SP contributes to increased HIV-1 infection in macrophages. The scavenger receptor CD163 is expressed on cells of monocyte-macrophage origin. Our main goal was to determine if there is interplay among SP, CD163 expression, and HIV infection in macrophages. We showed that SP triggers intracellular calcium elevation and increased CD163 expression in human monocytes in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. The role of CD163 on HIV infection was examined by RT-PCR in sorted monocytes (CD163(low) and CD163(high)) and in macrophages having CD163 knocked down using siRNA. We found that the productivity of HIV infection was higher in CD163(high) cells. Additionally, in macrophages with CD163 expression knocked down, we found a significant decrease of HIV infection. Furthermore, Hb-Hp complexes, which function as an endogenous ligand for CD163, decreased HIV infection in macrophages in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, we demonstrate that SP induces higher levels of CD163 in monocytes and that high expression of CD163 is associated with increases HIV infection in macrophages. Thus, in addition to being a prognostic marker of HIV infection, the expression of CD163 on macrophages may be critical in HIV immunopathogenesis.
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        Anti-HIV-1 activity of the neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist aprepitant and synergistic interactions with other antiretrovirals.

        Neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) antagonists interfere with binding of neuropeptide substance P to NK1R and exhibit novel anti-HIV-1 activities. Since NK1R antagonists effectively penetrate the blood-brain barrier to reduce the inflammatory response within the brain, we wished to evaluate their potential as anti-HIV-1 candidates for targeting HIV-1 infections of the central nervous system. A series of small molecule agents were evaluated for anti-NK1R and anti-HIV-1 activity using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The most promising of these, aprepitant (Emend, Merck and Co. Inc.), was investigated for potential synergies with other antiretroviral drugs. Anti-NK1R activity was tested by measuring intracellular calcium increase triggered by substance P. Anti-HIV-1 activity was evaluated by measuring p24 antigen in culture supernatants of PBMC following exposure to HIV. The concentration of drug which produced 50% reduction in intracellular calcium levels or viral production in 7-day PBMC cultures was determined. The combined effect of aprepitant with each of the major classes of anti-HIV-1 drugs was evaluated in synergy studies. Aprepitant had the highest anti-HIV-1 activity of the NK1R antagonists examined and was equally active against all major HIV-1 subtypes. Aprepitant acted synergistically with protease inhibitors (ritonavir and saquinavir), but not with nucleoside reverse transcriptase, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase, or viral entry inhibitors. The ability of aprepitant to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, its safety record as an FDA-approved drug for reducing nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy, and synergistic activity with other anti-HIV-1 drugs make it a promising candidate for treatment of HIV infection.
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          A Randomized, Placebo Controlled, Double Masked Phase IB Study Evaluating the Safety and Antiviral Activity of Aprepitant, a Neurokinin-1 Receptor Antagonist in HIV-1 Infected Adults

          Background Neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) antagonists have anti-HIV activity in monocyte-derived macrophages, decrease CCR5 expression and improve natural killer cell function ex vivo. Aprepitant is a NK1R antagonist approved by FDA as an antiemetic. Methods We conducted a phase IB randomized, placebo controlled, double masked study to evaluate the safety, antiviral activity, pharmacokinetics and immune-modulatory effects of aprepitant in HIV-infected adults not receiving antiretroviral therapy, with CD4+ cell count ≥350 cells/mm3 and plasma viral load ≥2,000 copies/ml. Subjects were stratified by viral load (< vs. ≥20,000 copies/ml) and randomized within each stratum to receive aprepitant at 125 mg QD(Low), or 250 mg QD(High), or placebo(PL) for 14 days, and followed for 42 days. Results Thirty subjects were randomized and 27 completed treatment (9, 8, 10 subjects in 125 (Low), 250 (High), and PL groups). 63% were male; 37% white; mean (SD) age 43 (9.3) years. Geometric mean baseline viral load (copies/ml) for Low, High, and PL was 15,709, 33,013, and 19,450, respectively. Mean (95%CI) change in log10 viral load at day 14 for Low, High, and PL was −0.02(−0.24,+0.20), −0.05(−0.21,+0.10), and +0.04(−0.08,+0.16), respectively. The number of subjects with AEs was 4(44.4%), 5(62.5%), and 1(10%) for Low, High, and PL. No Grade 4 AEs occurred. Conclusions Adverse events of aprepitant were more common in the treated groups. At the dose used in this two-week phase IB study, aprepitant showed biological activity, but no significant antiviral activity. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00428519
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, Punjab, India
            Author notes
            Address for correspondence: Dr. Udhayvir Singh Grewal, Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, Punjab, India. E-mail: grewaludhayvirsingh@ 123456yahoo.com
            Journal
            Indian J Sex Transm Dis
            Indian J Sex Transm Dis
            IJSTD
            Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
            Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
            0253-7184
            1998-3816
            Jul-Dec 2016
            : 37
            : 2
            : 208-209
            5111313 IJSTD-37-208 10.4103/0253-7184.192126
            Copyright: © 2016 Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

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