Retrovirology 2016 12 2013(1) 88 doi 10.1186/s12977-016-0319-0
Despite the durable viral suppression afforded by antiretroviral therapy, HIV-1 eradication will require strategies to target latently infected cells that persist in infected individuals. Protein kinase C (PKC) activation is a promising strategy to reactivate latent proviruses and allow for subsequent recognition and clearance of infected cells by the immune system. Ingenol derivatives are PKC agonists that induce latency reversal but also lead to T cell activation and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which would be undesirable in vivo. In this work, we sought to identify compounds that would suppress pro-inflammatory cytokine production in the context of PKC activation.
DESIGN AND METHODS
We performed an in vitro screen to identify compounds that could dampen pro-inflammatory cytokine release associated with T cell activation, using IL-6 as a model cytokine. We then tested the ability of the most promising screening hit, the FDA-approved Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor ruxolitinib, to diminish release of multiple cytokines and its effect on latency reversal using cells from HIV-1-positive, aviremic participants.
We demonstrate that co-administration of ruxolitinib with ingenol-3,20-dibenzoate significantly reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine release without impairing latency reversal ex vivo.
The combination of ingenol compounds and JAK inhibition represents a novel strategy for HIV-1 eradication.