Cellular physiology and biochemistry : international journal of experimental cellular physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology

Stimulating Effect of Elvitegravir on Suicidal Erythrocyte Death.

PMID 26963694


The antiviral drug Elvitegravir is used for the treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections. The present study explored whether the drug is able to trigger eryptosis, the suicidal death of erythrocytes. Eryptosis is characterized by cell shrinkage and cell membrane scrambling with phosphatidylserine translocation to the erythrocyte surface. Stimulators of eryptosis include increase of cytosolic Ca2+ activity ([Ca2+]i), oxidative stress, ceramide, activated p38 kinase and activated caspases. The present study explored, whether Elvitegravir induces eryptosis and, if so, to shed light on the mechanisms involved. Phosphatidylserine abundance at the erythrocyte surface was estimated from annexin-V-binding, cell volume from forward scatter, [Ca2+]i from Fluo3-fluorescence, abundance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from DCFDA dependent fluorescence, and ceramide abundance at the erythrocyte surface utilizing specific antibodies. A 48 hours exposure of human erythrocytes to Elvitegravir (≥ 1.5 µg/ml) significantly increased the percentage of annexin-V-binding cells, and significantly decreased forward scatter. Elvitegravir (2.5 µg/ml) significantly increased Fluo3-fluorescence, but did not significantly modify DCFDA fluorescence or ceramide abundance. The effect of Elvitegravir on annexin-V-binding was significantly blunted by removal of extracellular Ca2+, but not in the presence of p38 kinase inhibitor SB203580 (2 µM) or in the presence of pancaspase inhibitor zVAD (10 µM). Elvitegravir triggers cell shrinkage and phospholipid scrambling of the erythrocyte cell membrane, an effect in part due to entry of extracellular Ca2+.