Scientific reports 2017 02 017() 41018 doi 10.1038/srep41018
Microbicides are considered a promising strategy for preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) transmission and disease. In this report, we first analyzed the antiviral activity of the miniCD4 M48U1 peptide formulated in hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) hydrogel in activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) infected with R5- and X4-tropic HIV-1 strains. The results demonstrate that M48U1 prevented infection by several HIV-1 strains including laboratory strains, and HIV-1 subtype B and C strains isolated from the activated PBMCs of patients. M48U1 also inhibited infection by two HIV-1 transmitted/founder infectious molecular clones (pREJO.c/2864 and pTHRO.c/2626). In addition, M48U1 was administered in association with tenofovir, and these two antiretroviral drugs synergistically inhibited HIV-1 infection. In the next series of experiments, we tested M48U1 alone or in combination with tenofovir in HEC hydrogel with an organ-like structure mimicking human cervicovaginal tissue. We demonstrated a strong antiviral effect in absence of significant tissue toxicity. Together, these results indicate that co-treatment with M48U1 plus tenofovir is an effective antiviral strategy that may be used as a new topical microbicide to prevent HIV-1 transmission.