Journal of cellular biochemistry. Supplement

Oltipraz, a novel inhibitor of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication.

PMID 8538188


Glutathione (GSH) levels are markedly depleted in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and supplementation of media with high concentrations (5-20 mM) of low-molecular weight thiols prevents HIV-1 replication in cultured cells. We were intrigued whether chemopreventive enzyme inducers might represent a more pharmacologically feasible method to inhibit HIV-1 replication since these compounds elevate intracellular concentrations of GSH at nontoxic doses in vivo. After establishing that all inducers surveyed were able to elevate GSH levels in human T-cell and monocytoid cell lines, we were surprised to find that oltipraz (5-pyrazinyl-4-methyl-1,2-dithiole-3-thione) was uniquely able to inhibit HIV-1 replication (IC50 = 5-15 microM). Oltipraz and other antiviral 1,2-dithiole-3-thiones (DTTs) appear to inhibit acute HIV-1 replication by inactivating reverse transcriptase (RT). However, among DTTs that inhibit HIV-1 replication in acutely infected cells, only oltipraz was able to inhibit HIV-1 replication in a chronic infection model. Thus, in addition to inactivating RT, oltipraz appears to have an additional antiviral mechanism distal to viral integration. Our laboratories are attempting to determine the mechanism by which oltipraz inhibits HIV-1 replication in chronically infected cells; we are also attempting to determine the bioorganic mechanism for the inactivation of RT. Since the covalent modification of schistosomal proteins and transcription factor(s) are thought to be responsible for the antiparasitic and chemopreventive activities of DTTs, respectively, our studies should be relevant to understanding the diverse medicinal properties of DTTs. Oltipraz, an antischistosomal drug undergoing clinical evaluation as an anticarcinogen, inhibits HIV-1 replication at concentrations achievable in human serum. It is intriguing to consider oltipraz as a therapeutic agent not only for its antiretroviral activity, but also for the prevention of HIV-1 associated neoplasms.

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Oltipraz, ≥98% (HPLC), powder