HIV medicine 2017 12 06() doi 10.1111/hiv.12569
Development of HbAHP-25, a peptide that prevents HIV-1 entry into cells by blocking gp120-CD4 interaction, as a topical anti-HIV drug, necessitates that it is first tested for toxic or abrasive effects on genital epithelial cells and also on the vaginal microbiome. The present study was, therefore, undertaken to investigate whether: (1) HbAHP-25 has any adverse effect on growth and membrane integrity of various cell lines, and (2) HbAHP-25 neutralizes gp120 mediated insults on genital epithelial cells.
MTT and trans-epithelial resistance (TER) assays were performed to assess the viability and integrity of epithelial cells. Real-time PCR and Immunofluorescence/Western blotting were used to decipher the expression of tight junction proteins, at the mRNA and protein levels, respectively. A multiplex cytokine assay was performed to quantify the cytokines.
HbAHP-25 had no adverse effect on the viability of VK2/E6E7, End1/E6E7, Ect1/E6E7 and HEC-1A cells, and also on growth of lactobacilli. The barrier integrity of HbAHP-25-treated cells remained unaltered. Expression of tight junction proteins, Claudin-1 and ZO-1, at transcript and protein levels, remained unaltered in HbAHP-25-treated HEC-1A cells. Interestingly, HbAHP-25 treatment prevented the breach of barrier integrity caused by gp120. Further, HbAHP-25 did not elicit the expression of inflammatory cytokines. Instead, the in vitro induction of inflammatory cytokines by gp120 was also abrogated in the presence of HbAHP-25.
HbAHP-25 is exceedingly safe to genital epithelial cells and attenuates HIV-1 gp120-mediated barrier dysfunction by limiting excessive inflammation. This study provides significant evidences in the favor of HbAHP-25’s potential as a topical anti-HIV agent.