Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection results in excessive apoptosis of infected and uninfected cells, mediated by host and viral factors present in plasma. As HIV protease inhibitors (PIs) have intrinsic antiapoptotic properties, we questioned whether HIV PIs could block HIV-induced CD4+ T-cell death independent of their effects on HIV replication. We demonstrate that HIV PIs block the death of CD4+ T cells induced by HIV glycoprotein 120 (gp120), Vpr, and Tat, as well as host signals Fas ligand, tumor necrosis factor, and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand. Using gp120/CXCR4 as a model, we show that the HIV PIs specifically block mitochondrial apoptosis signaling. Furthermore, HIV PIs inhibit CD4+ T-cell death induced by viruses with high-level resistance to PIs (P<0.01) and apoptosis induced by serum of HIV patients with known resistance to HIV PIs (P=0.01). Together, these results show that HIV PIs block CD4+ T-cell death and have a beneficial effect on CD4+ T-cell survival despite PI resistance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)