Antiviral therapy

Impact of darunavir, atazanavir and lopinavir boosted with ritonavir on cultured human endothelial cells: beneficial effect of pravastatin.

PMID 24535489


HIV-infected patients administered long-term ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitors (PIs) are at a greater risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. Endothelial dysfunction is an initiating event in HIV-associated atherosclerosis. Cultured endothelial cells can be used as a model to compare the endothelial toxicity of different PIs. We compared the effect of darunavir (DRV), darunavir/ritonavir (DRV/r), lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) and atazanavir/ritonavir (ATV/r), used at clinically relevant concentrations, on human coronary artery endothelial cell vascular function, oxidative stress, inflammation and senescence, and studied the effect of pravastatin on PI-induced alterations. Vascular endothelial cell function, evaluated by the expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and the production of nitric oxide and endothelin-1, was unaffected by DRV or DRV/r, but altered by LPV/r or ATV/r. DRV or DRV/r did not alter, or mildly induced oxidative stress and inflammation (phosphorylation of p65/RelA-NFκB, secretion of IL-6 and IL-8), while ATV/r and LPV/r induced a marked increase. Secretion of sICAM or sVCAM, indicative of altered cell integrity, was not or weakly altered by DRV or DRV/r, but increased by 2-3-fold by LPV/r or ATV/r. Similar results were observed regarding senescence markers: SA-β-galactosidase activation and overexpression of phospho-p53, p16(ink4), p21(WAF-1) and prelamin A. Pravastatin could, in part, reverse PI-induced adverse effects. Ritonavir-boosted PIs differentially induced vascular endothelial cell dysfunction, reactive oxygen species production, inflammation and senescence with no effect or a mild effect of DRV/r, an intermediate effect of ATV/r, and a stronger effect of LPV/r. Statins could, in part, protect the cells from PI-induced endothelial dysfunction.