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Inhibition of HIV-1 Infection in Ex Vivo Cervical Tissue Model of Human Vagina by Palmitic Acid; Implications for a Microbicide Development
Published: Monday, September 19, 2011
Author: Xudong Lin et al.

by Xudong Lin, Elena E. Paskaleva, William Chang, Alexander Shekhtman, Mario Canki

Background

Approximately 80% of all new HIV-1 infections are acquired through sexual contact. Currently, there is no clinically approved microbicide, indicating a clear and urgent therapeutic need. We recently reported that palmitic acid (PA) is a novel and specific inhibitor of HIV-1 fusion and entry. Mechanistically, PA inhibits HIV-1 infection by binding to a novel pocket on the CD4 receptor and blocks efficient gp120-to-CD4 attachment. Here, we wanted to assess the ability of PA to inhibit HIV-1 infection in cervical tissue ex vivo model of human vagina, and determine its effect on Lactobacillus (L) species of probiotic vaginal flora.

Principal Findings

Our results show that treatment with 100–200 µM PA inhibited HIV-1 infection in cervical tissue by up to 50%, and this treatment was not toxic to the tissue or to L. crispatus and jensenii species of vaginal flora. In vitro, in a cell free system that is independent of in vivo cell associated CD4 receptor; we determined inhibition constant (Ki) to be ~2.53 µM.

Significance

These results demonstrate utility of PA as a model molecule for further preclinical development of a safe and potent HIV-1 entry microbicide inhibitor.

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