Viruses 2017 09 289(10) pii 10.3390/v9100277
A paucity of information is available on the activity of protease inhibitors (PI) in chronically-infected monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) and on the kinetics of viral-rebound after PI removal in vitro. To fill this gap, the activity of different concentrations of amprenavir (AMP) was evaluated in chronically-infected MDM by measuring p24-production every day up to 12 days after drug administration and up to seven days after drug removal. Clinically-relevant concentrations of AMP (4 and 20 μM) drastically decreased p24 amount released from chronically-infected MDM from Day 2 up to Day 12 after drug administration. The kinetics of viral-rebound after AMP-removal (4 and 20 μM) showed that, despite an initial increase, p24-production over time never reached the level observed for untreated-MDM, suggesting a persistent intracellular drug activity. In line with this, after AMP-removal, human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) infectivity and intracellular the p24/p55 ratio (reflecting virion-maturation) were remarkably lower than observed for untreated MDM. Overall, AMP shows high efficacy in blocking HIV-1 replication in chronically-infected MDM, persisting even after drug-removal. This highlights the role of protease inhibitors in preventing the establishment of this important HIV-1 reservoir, thus reducing viral-dissemination in different anatomical compartments.