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1.  Formulation of the Microbicide INP0341 for In Vivo Protection against a Vaginal Challenge by Chlamydia trachomatis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110918.
The salicylidene acylhydrazide (SA) compounds have exhibited promising microbicidal properties. Previous reports have shown the SA compounds, using cell cultures, to exhibit activity against Chlamydia trachomatis, herpes simplex virus and HIV-1. In addition, using an animal model of a vaginal infection the SA compound INP0341, when dissolved in a liquid, was able to significantly protect mice from a vaginal infection with C. trachomatis. To expand upon this finding, in this report INP0341 was formulated as a vaginal gel, suitable for use in humans. Gelling agents (polymers) with inherent antimicrobial properties were chosen to maximize the total antimicrobial effect of the gel. In vitro formulation work generated a gel with suitable rheology and sustained drug release. A formulation containing 1 mM INP0341, 1.6 wt% Cremophor ELP (solubility enhancer) and 1.5 wt% poly(acrylic acid) (gelling and antimicrobial agent), was chosen for studies of efficacy and toxicity using a mouse model of a vaginal infection. The gel formulation was able to attenuate a vaginal challenge with C. trachomatis, serovar D. Formulations with and without INP0341 afforded protection, but the inclusion of INP0341 increased the protection. Mouse vaginal tissue treated with the formulation showed no indication of gel toxicity. The lack of toxicity was confirmed by in vitro assays using EpiVaginal tissues, which showed that a 24 h exposure to the gel formulation did not decrease the cell viability or the barrier function of the tissue. Therefore, the gel formulation described here appears to be a promising vaginal microbicide to prevent a C. trachomatis infection with the potential to be expanded to other sexually transmitted diseases.
PMCID: PMC4214720  PMID: 25356686
2.  Candidate vaginal microbicides with activity against Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae 
Vaginal microbicides with activity towards organisms that cause sexually transmitted infections have been proposed as a strategy to reduce transmission. Small-molecule inhibitors of Chlamydia trachomatis serovar D belonging to the class of salicylidene acylhydrazides (INPs) have been shown to work through a mechanism that involves iron restriction. Expanding on this work, ten INPs were tested against a lymphogranuloma venereum strain of C. trachomatis serovar L2, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and hydrogen peroxide-producing Lactobacillus crispatus and Lactobacillus jensenii. Seven INPs had minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and minimal bactericidal concentrations of <50 µM towards C. trachomatis L2. Three INPs had an MIC <12.5 µM against N. gonorrhoeae. Inhibition by was reversed by iron, holo-transferrin and holo-lactoferrin but not by the iron-poor forms of these compounds. The compounds exhibited no bactericidal activity toward Lactobacillus. The INPs were not cytotoxic to HeLa 229 cells. When INP 0341 was tested in a mouse model of a Chlamydia vaginal infection there was a significant reduction in the number of mice shedding C. trachomatis up to 4 days after infection (P < 0.01). In summary, select INPs are promising vaginal microbicide candidates as they inhibit the growth of two common sexually transmitted organisms in vitro, are active in a mouse model against C. trachomatis, are not cytotoxic and do not inhibit organisms that compose the normal vaginal flora.
PMCID: PMC2902681  PMID: 20605703
Vaginal microbicide; Sexually transmitted infections; Chlamydia trachomatis; LGV; Neisseria gonorrhoeae
3.  Pre-clinical pharmacokinetics and anti-chlamydial activity of salicylidene acylhydrazide inhibitors of bacterial type III secretion 
The Journal of Antibiotics  2012;65(8):397-404.
Salicylidene acylhydrazides belong to a class of compounds shown to inhibit bacterial type III secretion (T3S) in pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. This class of compounds also inhibits growth and replication of Chlamydiae, strict intracellular bacteria that possess a T3S system. In this study a library of 58 salicylidene acylhydrazides was screened to identify inhibitors of Chlamydia growth. Compounds inhibiting growth of both Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydophila pneumoniae were tested for cell toxicity and seven compounds were selected for preliminary pharmacokinetic analysis in mice using cassette dosing. Two compounds, ME0177 and ME0192, were further investigated by individual pharmacokinetic analysis. Compound ME0177 had a relatively high peak plasma concentration (Cmax) and area under curve and therefore may be considered for systemic treatment of Chlamydia infections. The other compound, ME0192, had poor pharmacokinetic properties but the highest anti-chlamydial activity in vitro and therefore was tested for topical treatment in a mouse vaginal infection model. ME0192 administered vaginally significantly reduced the infectious burden of C. trachomatis and the number of infected mice.
PMCID: PMC3428607  PMID: 22669447
Chlamydophila pneumoniae; Chlamydia trachomatis; pre-clinical pharmacokinetics; type III secretion inhibitor; vaginal microbicide; virulence inhibitor
4.  Salicylidene Acylhydrazides That Affect Type III Protein Secretion in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium▿  
A collection of nine salicylidene acylhydrazide compounds were tested for their ability to inhibit the activity of virulence-associated type III secretion systems (T3SSs) in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. The compounds strongly affected Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI1) T3SS-mediated invasion of epithelial cells and in vitro secretion of SPI1 invasion-associated effector proteins. The use of a SPI1 effector β-lactamase fusion protein implicated intracellular entrapment of the protein construct upon application of a salicylidene acylhydrazide, whereas the use of chromosomal transcriptional gene fusions revealed a compound-mediated transcriptional silencing of SPI1. Salicylidene acylhydrazides also affected intracellular bacterial replication in murine macrophage-like cells and blocked the transport of an epitope-tagged SPI2 effector protein. Two of the compounds significantly inhibited bacterial motility and expression of extracellular flagellin. We conclude that salicylidene acylhydrazides affect bacterial T3SS activity in S. enterica and hence could be used as lead substances when designing specific inhibitors of bacterial T3SSs in order to pharmaceutically intervene with bacterial virulence.
PMCID: PMC1932493  PMID: 17548496
5.  Prevention of SIV Rectal Transmission and Priming of T Cell Responses in Macaques after Local Pre-exposure Application of Tenofovir Gel 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(8):e157.
The rectum is particularly vulnerable to HIV transmission having only a single protective layer of columnar epithelium overlying tissue rich in activated lymphoid cells; thus, unprotected anal intercourse in both women and men carries a higher risk of infection than other sexual routes. In the absence of effective prophylactic vaccines, increasing attention is being given to the use of microbicides and preventative antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. To prevent mucosal transmission of HIV, a microbicide/ARV should ideally act locally at and near the virus portal of entry. As part of an integrated rectal microbicide development programme, we have evaluated rectal application of the nucleotide reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor tenofovir (PMPA, 9-[(R)-2-(phosphonomethoxy) propyl] adenine monohydrate), a drug licensed for therapeutic use, for protective efficacy against rectal challenge with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in a well-established and standardised macaque model.
Methods and Findings
A total of 20 purpose-bred Indian rhesus macaques were used to evaluate the protective efficacy of topical tenofovir. Nine animals received 1% tenofovir gel per rectum up to 2 h prior to virus challenge, four macaques received placebo gel, and four macaques remained untreated. In addition, three macaques were given tenofovir gel 2 h after virus challenge. Following intrarectal instillation of 20 median rectal infectious doses (MID50) of a noncloned, virulent stock of SIVmac251/32H, all animals were analysed for virus infection, by virus isolation from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), quantitative proviral DNA load in PBMC, plasma viral RNA (vRNA) load by sensitive quantitative competitive (qc) RT-PCR, and presence of SIV-specific serum antibodies by ELISA. We report here a significant protective effect (p = 0.003; Fisher exact probability test) wherein eight of nine macaques given tenofovir per rectum up to 2 h prior to virus challenge were protected from infection (n = 6) or had modified virus outcomes (n = 2), while all untreated macaques and three of four macaques given placebo gel were infected, as were two of three animals receiving tenofovir gel after challenge. Moreover, analysis of lymphoid tissues post mortem failed to reveal sequestration of SIV in the protected animals. We found a strong positive association between the concentration of tenofovir in the plasma 15 min after rectal application of gel and the degree of protection in the six animals challenged with virus at this time point. Moreover, colorectal explants from non-SIV challenged tenofovir-treated macaques were resistant to infection ex vivo, whereas no inhibition was seen in explants from the small intestine. Tissue-specific inhibition of infection was associated with the intracellular detection of tenofovir. Intriguingly, in the absence of seroconversion, Gag-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-secreting T cells were detected in the blood of four of seven protected animals tested, with frequencies ranging from 144 spot forming cells (SFC)/106 PBMC to 261 spot forming cells (SFC)/106 PBMC.
These results indicate that colorectal pretreatment with ARV drugs, such as tenofovir, has potential as a clinically relevant strategy for the prevention of HIV transmission. We conclude that plasma tenofovir concentration measured 15 min after rectal administration may serve as a surrogate indicator of protective efficacy. This may prove to be useful in the design of clinical studies. Furthermore, in vitro intestinal explants served as a model for drug distribution in vivo and susceptibility to virus infection. The finding of T cell priming following exposure to virus in the absence of overt infection is provocative. Further studies would reveal if a combined modality microbicide and vaccination strategy is feasible by determining the full extent of local immune responses induced and their protective potential.
Martin Cranage and colleagues find that topical tenofovir gel can protect against rectal challenge with SIV in a macaque model, and can permit the induction of SIV-specific T cell responses.
Editors' Summary
About 33 million people are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS by killing immune system cells. As yet, there is no cure for AIDS, although HIV infections can be held in check with antiretroviral drugs. Also, despite years of research, there is no vaccine available that effectively protects people against HIV infection. So, to halt the AIDS epidemic, other ways of preventing the spread of HIV are being sought. For example, pre-exposure treatment (prophylaxis) with antiretroviral drugs is being investigated as a way to prevent HIV transmission. In addition, because HIV is often spread through heterosexual penile-to-vaginal sex with an infected partner, several vaginal microbicides (compounds that protect against HIV when applied inside the vagina) are being developed, some of which contain antiretroviral drugs.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because HIV can cross the membranes that line the mouth and the rectum (the lower end of the large intestine that connects to the anus) in addition to the membrane that lines the vagina, HIV transmission can also occur during oral and anal sex. The lining of the rectum in particular is extremely thin and overlies tissues rich in activated T cells (the immune system cells that HIV targets), so unprotected anal intercourse carries a high risk of HIV infection. Anal intercourse is common among men who have sex with men but is also more common in heterosexual populations than is generally thought. Tenofovir (an antiretroviral drug that counteracts HIV after it has entered human cells) given by mouth partly protects macaques against rectal infection with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV; a virus that induces AIDS in monkeys and apes) so the researchers wanted to know whether this drug might be effective against rectal SIV infection if applied at the site where the virus enters the body.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To answer this question, the researchers rectally infected several macaques with SIV up to 2 h after rectal application of a gel containing tenofovir, after rectal application of a gel not containing the drug, or after no treatment. In addition, a few animals were treated with the tenofovir gel after the viral challenge. Most of the animals given the tenofovir gel before the viral challenge were partly or totally protected from SIV infection, whereas all the untreated animals and most of those treated with the placebo gel or with the drug-containing gel after the viral challenge became infected with SIV. High blood levels of tenofovir 15 min after its rectal application correlated with protection from viral infection. The researchers also collected rectal and small intestine samples from tenofovir-treated macaques that had not been exposed to SIV and asked which samples were resistant to SIV infection in laboratory dishes. They found that only the rectal samples were resistant to infection and only rectal cells contained tenofovir. Finally, activated T cells that recognized an SIV protein were present in the blood of some of the animals that were protected from SIV infection by the tenofovir gel.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings, although based on experiments in only a few animals, suggest that rectal treatment with antiretroviral drugs before rectal exposure to HIV might prevent rectal HIV transmission in people. However, results from animal experiments do not always reflect what happens in people. Indeed, clinical trials of a potential vaginal microbicide that worked well in macaques were halted recently because women using the microbicide had higher rates of HIV infection than those using a control preparation. The finding that immune-system activation can occur in the absence of overt infection in animals treated with the tenofovir gel additionally suggests that a combination of a local antiretroviral/microbicide and vaccination might be a particularly effective way to prevent HIV transmission. However, because HIV targets activated T cells, viral rechallenge experiments must be done to check that the activated T cells induced by the virus in the presence of tenofovir do not increase the likelihood of infection upon re-exposure to HIV before this potential microbicide is tried in people.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read the accompanying PLoS Medicine Perspective by Florian Hladik
An overview of HIV infection and AIDS is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
HIVInSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including an article on safer sex, which includes information on the risks associated with specific types of sex and on microbicides and other methods to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV
Information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, including information on HIV prevention and on microbicides
The World Health Organization has a fact sheet on microbicides
The UK charity NAM also provides detailed information on microbicides
PrEP Watch is a comprehensive information source on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention
Global Campaign for Microbicides is an international coalition of organisations dedicated to accelerating access to new HIV prevention options
PMCID: PMC2494562  PMID: 18684007
6.  Benzylidene Acylhydrazides Inhibit Chlamydial Growth in a Type III Secretion- and Iron Chelation-Independent Manner 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(16):2989-3001.
Chlamydiae are widespread Gram-negative pathogens of humans and animals. Salicylidene acylhydrazides, developed as inhibitors of type III secretion system (T3SS) in Yersinia spp., have an inhibitory effect on chlamydial infection. However, these inhibitors also have the capacity to chelate iron, and it is possible that their antichlamydial effects are caused by iron starvation. Therefore, we have explored the modification of salicylidene acylhydrazides with the goal to uncouple the antichlamydial effect from iron starvation. We discovered that benzylidene acylhydrazides, which cannot chelate iron, inhibit chlamydial growth. Biochemical and genetic analyses suggest that the derivative compounds inhibit chlamydiae through a T3SS-independent mechanism. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified in a Chlamydia muridarum variant resistant to benzylidene acylhydrazides, but it may be necessary to segregate the mutations to differentiate their roles in the resistance phenotype. Benzylidene acylhydrazides are well tolerated by host cells and probiotic vaginal Lactobacillus species and are therefore of potential therapeutic value.
PMCID: PMC4135636  PMID: 24914180
7.  Protection of Mice From a Chlamydia trachomatis Vaginal Infection Using a Salicylidene Acylhydrazide, a Potential Microbicide 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(9):1313-1320.
The salicylidene acylhydrazide INP0341 inhibits growth of Chlamydia in HeLa cells, has negligible cell toxicity, and does not inhibit the growth of lactobacilli. The antichlamydial activity of INP0341 was retained when tested in vaginal and semen simulants. Vaginal tissue from INP0341-treated mice appeared similar to control sham-treated mice. To determine whether INP0341 can protect mice from a vaginal challenge, C3H/HeJ mice were either sham or INP0341 treated intravaginally pre- and postinoculation with 5 × 102 inclusion-forming units (IFUs) of Chlamydia trachomatis serovar D. Vaginal cultures taken over a month-long period showed a significant difference in the number of control mice that were culture positive versus the number in the INP0341-treated group, 100% (25/25) and 31% (8/26), respectively (P < .05). The quantity of IFUs shed and antibody titers to Chlamydia were significantly higher for the control group (P < .05). In summary, INP0341 is a promising compound to be considered for formulation as a vaginal microbicide.
PMCID: PMC3182314  PMID: 21933873
8.  Comparative Evaluation of Virus Transmission Inhibition by Dual-Acting Pyrimidinedione Microbicides Using the Microbicide Transmission and Sterilization Assay▿  
In the absence of a fully effective human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine, topical microbicides represent an important strategy for preventing the transmission of HIV through sexual intercourse, the predominant mode of HIV transmission worldwide. Although a comprehensive understanding of HIV transmission has not yet emerged in the microbicide field, it is likely the result of rapid infection of monocyte-derived cells in the vaginal mucosa by CCR5-tropic viruses. Inhibition of HIV transmission requires agents that prevent entry, fusion, reverse transcription, or other preintegrative replication events or agents which directly inactivate HIV or modulate the target cells to render them uninfectible. In vitro assays typically used to evaluate the ability of a microbicide to prevent virus transmission use epithelial or human osteosarcoma-derived cells or immune cells more relevant to the development of anti-HIV therapeutic agents and quantify virus production at short time intervals following infection. We have developed a microbicide transmission and sterilization assay (MTSA) to more sensitively and quantitatively evaluate virus transmission in cell culture in the presence of microbicidal compounds. Results obtained with the MTSA demonstrate that the inhibitory capacity of microbicides is often overestimated in short-term transmission inhibition assays, while some compounds yield equivalent inhibitory results, indicating a biological relevance for the MTSA-based evaluations to identify superior potent microbicides. The MTSA defines the concentration of the microbicide required to totally suppress the transmission of virus in cell culture and may thus help define the effective concentration of the microbicide required in a formulated microbicide product.
PMCID: PMC2493113  PMID: 18559653
9.  Phosphorothioate 2′ Deoxyribose Oligomers as Microbicides That Inhibit Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Infection and Block Toll-Like Receptor 7 (TLR7) and TLR9 Triggering by HIV-1▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(10):4064-4073.
Topical microbicides may prove to be an important strategy for preventing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission. We examined the safety and efficacy of sequence-nonspecific phosphorothioate 2′ deoxyribose oligomers as potential novel microbicides. A short, 13-mer poly(T) phosphorothioate oligodeoxynucleotide (OPB-T) significantly inhibited infection of primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) by high-titer HIV-1Ba-L and simian immunodeficiency virus mac251 (SIVmac251). Continuous exposure of human vaginal and foreskin tissue explants to OPB-T showed no toxicity. An abasic 14-mer phosphorothioate 2′ deoxyribose backbone (PDB) demonstrated enhanced anti-HIV-1 activity relative to OPB-T and other homo-oligodeoxynucleotide analogs. When PDB was used to pretreat HIV-1, PDB was effective against R5 and X4 isolates at a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of <1 μM in both PBMC and P4-R5 MAGI cell infections. PDB also reduced HIV-1 infectivity following the binding of virus to target cells. This novel topical microbicide candidate exhibited an excellent in vitro safety profile in human PBMC and endocervical epithelial cells. PDB also retained activity in hydroxyethylcellulose gel at pH 4.4 and after transition to a neutral pH and was stable in this formulation for 30 days at room temperature. Furthermore, the compound displayed potent antiviral activity following incubation with a Lactobacillus strain derived from normal vaginal flora. Most importantly, PDB can inhibit HIV-1-induced alpha interferon production. Phosphorothioate 2′ deoxyribose oligomers may therefore be promising microbicide candidates that inhibit HIV-1 infection and also dampen the inflammation which is critical for the initial spread of the virus.
PMCID: PMC2944567  PMID: 20625151
10.  Role of seminal plasma in the anti-HIV-1 activity of candidate microbicides 
Evaluation of microbicides for prevention of HIV-1 infection in macaque models for vaginal infection has indicated that the concentrations of active compounds needed for protection by far exceed levels sufficient for complete inhibition of infection in vitro. These experiments were done in the absence of seminal plasma (SP), a vehicle for sexual transmission of the virus. To gain insight into the possible effect of SP on the performance of selected microbicides, their anti-HIV-1 activity in the presence, and absence of SP, was determined.
The inhibitory activity of compounds against the X4 virus, HIV-1 IIIB, and the R5 virus, HIV-1 BaL was determined using TZM-bl indicator cells and quantitated by measuring β-galactosidase induced by infection. The virucidal properties of cellulose acetate 1,2-benzene-dicarboxylate (CAP), the only microbicide provided in water insoluble, micronized form, in the presence of SP was measured.
The HIV-1 inhibitory activity of the polymeric microbicides, poly(naphthalene sulfonate), cellulose sulfate, carrageenan, CAP (in soluble form) and polystyrene sulfonate, respectively, was considerably (range ≈ 4 to ≈ 73-fold) diminished in the presence of SP (33.3%). Formulations of micronized CAP, providing an acidic buffering system even in the presence of an SP volume excess, effectively inactivated HIV-1 infectivity.
The data presented here suggest that the in vivo efficacy of polymeric microbicides, acting as HIV-1 entry inhibitors, might become at least partly compromised by the inevitable presence of SP. These possible disadvantages could be overcome by combining the respective polymers with acidic pH buffering systems (built-in for formulations of micronized CAP) or with other anti-HIV-1 compounds, the activity of which is not affected by SP, e.g. reverse transcriptase and zinc finger inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC1618840  PMID: 17042959
11.  Interleukin-7 Facilitates HIV-1 Transmission to Cervico-Vaginal Tissue ex vivo 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(2):e1003148.
The majority of HIV-1 infections in women occur through vaginal intercourse, in which virus-containing semen is deposited on the cervico-vaginal mucosa. Semen is more than a mere carrier of HIV-1, since it contains many biological factors, in particular cytokines, that may affect HIV-1 transmission. The concentration of interleukin (IL)-7, one of the most prominent cytokines in semen of healthy individuals, is further increased in semen of HIV-1-infected men. Here, we investigated the potential role of IL-7 in HIV-1 vaginal transmission in an ex vivo system of human cervico-vaginal tissue. We simulated an in vivo situation by depositing HIV-1 on cervico-vaginal tissue in combination with IL-7 at concentrations comparable with those measured in semen of HIV-1-infected individuals. We found that IL-7 significantly enhanced virus replication in ex vivo infected cervico-vaginal tissue. Similarly, we observed an enhancement of HIV-1 replication in lymphoid tissue explants. Analysis of T cells isolated from infected tissues showed that IL-7 reduced CD4+ T cell depletion preventing apoptosis, as shown by the decrease in the number of cells expressing the apoptotic marker APO2.7 and the increase in the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein B-cell lymphoma (Bcl)-2. Also, IL-7 increased the fraction of cycling CD4+ T cells, as evidenced by staining for the nuclear factor Ki-67. High levels of seminal IL-7 in vivo may be relevant to the survival of the founder pool of HIV-1-infected cells in the cervico-vaginal mucosa at the initial stage of infection, promoting local expansion and dissemination of HIV infection.
Author Summary
Male-to-female HIV-1 transmission occurs predominantly through vaginal intercourse when the virus is transmitted with seminal fluid. The identification of the determinants of HIV-1 transmission to the female lower genital tract is of pivotal importance for understanding the basic mechanisms of HIV-1 infection. This understanding is necessary for the development of new strategies to prevent or contain this infection. Semen of HIV-1-infected individuals is highly enriched with IL-7, a crucial cytokine for the life cycle of CD4+ T cells, the primary target of HIV-1. Here, we utilized a system of human cervico-vaginal and lymphoid tissues ex vivo to study the effect of IL-7 on HIV-1 transmission and dissemination. Our results show that IL-7 at concentrations comparable to those found in semen of HIV-1-infected individuals enhanced HIV-1 replication by preventing the death and by stimulating the proliferation of CD4+ T cells. This allows sustained viral production by infected cells and provides new cellular targets for propagation of infection. The concentration of IL-7 in semen of HIV-1-infected men may be a key determinant of the efficiency of HIV-1 transmission to an uninfected female partner through vaginal intercourse.
PMCID: PMC3567179  PMID: 23408885
12.  The Lantibiotic Peptide Labyrinthopeptin A1 Demonstrates Broad Anti-HIV and Anti-HSV Activity with Potential for Microbicidal Applications 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64010.
Lantibiotics are peptides, produced by bacteria, that contain the noncanonical amino acid lanthionine and many of them exhibit antibacterial activities. The labyrinthopeptin A1 (LabyA1) is a prototype peptide of a novel class of carbacyclic lantibiotics. Here, we extensively evaluated its broad-spectrum activity against HIV and HSV in vitro, studied its mechanism of action and evaluated potential microbicidal applications. LabyA1 exhibited a consistent and broad anti-HIV activity (EC50s: 0.70–3.3 µM) and anti-HSV activity (EC50s: 0.29–2.8 µM) in cell cultures. LabyA1 also inhibited viral cell-cell transmission between persistently HIV-infected T cells and uninfected CD4+ T cells (EC50∶2.5 µM) and inhibited the transmission of HIV captured by DC-SIGN+-cells to uninfected CD4+ T cells (EC50∶4.1 µM). Time-of-drug addition studies revealed that LabyA1 acts as an entry inhibitor against HIV and HSV. Cellular and virus binding studies combined with SPR/FLIPR technology showed that LabyA1 interacted with the HIV envelope protein gp120, but not with the HIV cellular receptors. LabyA1 also demonstrated additive to synergistic effects in its anti-HIV-1 and anti-HSV-2 activity with anti(retro)viral drugs in dual combinations such as tenofovir, acyclovir, saquinavir, raltegravir and enfuvirtide. LabyA1 can be considered as a novel lead peptide as it had profound antiviral activity against HIV and HSV. Pre-treatment of PBMCs with LabyA1 neither increased the expression of the activation markers CD69 and CD25, nor enhanced HIV replication, nor significantly induced various inflammatory cytokines/chemokines. LabyA1 also did not affect the growth of vaginal Lactobacilli populations. Based on the lack of toxicity on the vaginal Lactobacillus strains and its synergistic/additive profile in combination with clinically approved anti(retro)virals, it deserves further attention as a potential microbicide candidate in the prevention of sexual transmitted diseases.
PMCID: PMC3665789  PMID: 23724015
13.  Microbicides: a new hope for HIV prevention 
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is a global health concern. To control its transmission, safe sex has been proposed as one of the strategies. Microbicides- intravaginal/intrarectal topical formulations of anti-HIV agents have also been proposed to prevent HIV transmission. Microbicides would provide protection by directly inactivating HIV or preventing the attachment, entry or replication of HIV in susceptible target cells as well as their dissemination from target cells present in semen or the host cells lining the vaginal/rectal wall to other migratory cells. Microbicides must be safe, effective following vaginal or rectal administration, and should cause minimal or no genital symptoms or inflammations following long-term repeated usage. However, a safe and efficacious anti-HIV microbicide is not yet available despite the fact that more than 60 candidate agents have been identified to have in vitro activity against HIV, several of which have advanced to clinical testing. Nonetheless, proof-of-concept of microbicides has been established based on the results of recent CAPRISA 004 clinical trials. In this article, the trends and challenges in the development of effective and safe microbicides to combat HIV transmission are reviewed.
PMCID: PMC3284102  PMID: 22310826
HIV; intravaginal; microbicides; prevention
14.  Identification of an unique CXCR4 epitope whose ligation inhibits infection by both CXCR4 and CCR5 tropic human immunodeficiency type-I viruses 
Retrovirology  2011;8:84.
Small chemical compounds which target chemokine receptors have been developed against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and are under investigation for use as anti-HIV-1 microbicides. In addition, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against chemokine receptors have also been shown to have anti-HIV-1 activities. The objective of the present study was to screen a panel of three anti-CXCR4 specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for their ability to block the HIV-1 infection using in vitro activated primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
PBMCs from normal donors were pre-activated with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 mAbs for 1 day, and aliquots were infected with a low dose of CCR5-tropic (R5), CXCR4 tropic (X4) or dual tropic (X4R5) HIV-1 isolates and cultured in the presence of a panel of anti-CXCR4 mAbs. The panel included clones A145 mAb against the N-terminus, A120 mAb against a conformational epitope consisting of extracellular loops (ECL)1 and ECL2, and A80 mAb against ECL3 of CXCR4. Among these mAbs, the A120 mAb showed the most potent inhibition of infection, by not only X4 but surprisingly also R5 and X4R5 HIV-1. The inhibition of R5 HIV-1 was postulated to result from the novel ability of the A120 mAb to induce the levels of the CCR5-binding β-chemokines MIP-1α, MIP-1β and/or RANTES, and the down modulation of CCR5 expression on activated CD4+ T cells. Neutralizing anti-MIP-1α mAb significantly reversed the inhibitory effect of the A120 mAb on R5 HIV-1 infection.
The data described herein have identified a unique epitope of CXCR4 whose ligation not only directly inhibits X4 HIV-1, but also indirectly inhibits R5 HIV-1 infection by inducing higher levels of natural CCR5 ligands.
PMCID: PMC3239297  PMID: 22018245
15.  Development of a Comprehensive Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Screening Algorithm for Discovery and Preclinical Testing of Topical Microbicides▿  
Topical microbicides are self-administered, prophylactic products for protection against sexually transmitted pathogens. A large number of compounds with known anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) inhibitory activity have been proposed as candidate topical microbicides. To identify potential leads, an in vitro screening algorithm was developed to evaluate candidate microbicides in assays that assess inhibition of cell-associated and cell-free HIV-1 transmission, entry, and fusion. The algorithm advances compounds by evaluation in a series of defined assays that generate measurements of relative antiviral potency to determine advancement or failure. Initial testing consists of a dual determination of inhibitory activity in the CD4-dependent CCR5-tropic cell-associated transmission inhibition assay and in the CD4/CCR5-mediated HIV-1 entry assay. The activity is confirmed by repeat testing, and identified actives are advanced to secondary screens to determine their effect on transmission of CXCR4-tropic viruses in the presence or absence of CD4 and their ability to inhibit CXCR4- and CCR5-tropic envelope-mediated cell-to-cell fusion. In addition, confirmed active compounds are also evaluated in the presence of human seminal plasma, in assays incorporating a pH 4 to 7 transition, and for growth inhibition of relevant strains of lactobacilli. Leads may then be advanced for specialized testing, including determinations in human cervical explants and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells against primary HIV subtypes, combination testing with other inhibitors, and additional cytotoxicity assays. PRO 2000 and SPL7013 (the active component of VivaGel), two microbicide products currently being evaluated in human clinical trials, were tested in this in vitro algorithm and were shown to be highly active against CCR5- and CXCR4-tropic HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC2346625  PMID: 18316528
16.  Structural Characterisation of Tpx from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Reveals Insights into the Binding of Salicylidene Acylhydrazide Compounds 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32217.
Thiol peroxidase, Tpx, has been shown to be a target protein of the salicylidene acylhydrazide class of antivirulence compounds. In this study we present the crystal structures of Tpx from Y. pseudotuberculosis (ypTpx) in the oxidised and reduced states, together with the structure of the C61S mutant. The structures solved are consistent with previously solved atypical 2-Cys thiol peroxidases, including that for “forced” reduced states using the C61S mutant. In addition, by investigating the solution structure of ypTpx using small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), we have confirmed that reduced state ypTpx in solution is a homodimer. The solution structure also reveals flexibility around the dimer interface. Notably, the conformational changes observed between the redox states at the catalytic triad and at the dimer interface have implications for substrate and inhibitor binding. The structural data were used to model the binding of two salicylidene acylhydrazide compounds to the oxidised structure of ypTpx. Overall, the study provides insights into the binding of the salicylidene acylhydrazides to ypTpx, aiding our long-term strategy to understand the mode of action of this class of compounds.
PMCID: PMC3288085  PMID: 22384182
17.  Development of Dual-Acting Pyrimidinediones as Novel and Highly Potent Topical Anti-HIV Microbicides ▿ 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(11):5243-5254.
In the absence of an effective vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), topical microbicides to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV represent an important strategy to prevent the continued spread of infection. The recent trend in the development of new microbicide candidates includes the utilization of FDA-approved therapeutic drugs that target the early stages of the HIV life cycle, including entry inhibitors and reverse transcriptase inhibitors. We have investigated 12 pyrimidinedione compounds with potent HIV activities and their abilities to inhibit both virus entry and reverse transcription, in an effort to determine a lead microbicide for product development. The candidate compounds were evaluated for efficacy against subtype B, C, and E clinical virus strains in fresh human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and against CCR5-tropic virus strains in both monocyte-macrophages and dendritic cells. Microbicide-specific biological assays and toxicity evaluations were also performed in a variety of established and fresh human cells as well as against Lactobacillus strains common to the vaginal environment. These evaluations resulted in the identification of congeners with cyclopropyl and cyclobutyl substituents at the N-1 of the pyrimidinedione as the most active molecules in the structure-activity relationship series. The pyrimidinediones represent excellent microbicide candidates in light of their significantly high efficacies against HIV-1 (subnanomolar concentration range), potencies (therapeutic index, >1 million), solubility profiles, and dual mechanism of antiviral action that includes two early steps of virus replication prior to the integration of the virus that are considered most important for microbicidal activity.
PMCID: PMC3195032  PMID: 21896906
18.  HIV-1 Neutralization Profile and Plant-Based Recombinant Expression of Actinohivin, an Env Glycan-Specific Lectin Devoid of T-Cell Mitogenic Activity 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11143.
The development of a topical microbicide blocking the sexual transmission of HIV-1 is urgently needed to control the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. The actinomycete-derived lectin actinohivin (AH) is highly specific to a cluster of high-mannose-type glycans uniquely found on the viral envelope (Env). Here, we evaluated AH's candidacy toward a microbicide in terms of in vitro anti-HIV-1 activity, potential side effects, and recombinant producibility. Two validated assay systems based on human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (hPBMC) infection with primary isolates and TZM-bl cell infection with Env-pseudotyped viruses were employed to characterize AH's anti-HIV-1 activity. In hPMBCs, AH exhibited nanomolar neutralizing activity against primary viruses with diverse cellular tropisms, but did not cause mitogenicity or cytotoxicity that are often associated with other anti-HIV lectins. In the TZM-bl-based assay, AH showed broad anti-HIV-1 activity against clinically-relevant, mucosally transmitting strains of clades B and C. By contrast, clade A viruses showed strong resistance to AH. Correlation analysis suggested that HIV-1′s AH susceptibility is significantly linked to the N-glycans at the Env C2 and V4 regions. For recombinant (r)AH expression, we evaluated a tobacco mosaic virus-based system in Nicotiana benthamiana plants as a means to facilitate molecular engineering and cost-effective mass production. Biochemical analysis and an Env-mediated syncytium formation assay demonstrated high-level expression of functional rAH within six days. Taken together, our study revealed AH's cross-clade anti-HIV-1 activity, apparent lack of side effects common to lectins, and robust producibility using plant biotechnology. These findings justify further efforts to develop rAH toward a candidate HIV-1 microbicide.
PMCID: PMC2886112  PMID: 20559567
19.  Syndecan-Fc Hybrid Molecule as a Potent In Vitro Microbicidal Anti-HIV-1 Agent▿  
In the absence of a vaccine, there is an urgent need for the development of safe and effective topical microbicides to prevent the sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). In this study, we proposed to develop a novel class of microbicides using syndecan as the antiviral agent. Specifically, we generated a soluble syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule by fusing the ectodomain of syndecan-1 to the Fc domain of a human IgG. We then tested the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule for various in vitro microbicidal anti-HIV-1 properties. Remarkably, the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule possesses multiple attractive microbicidal properties: (i) it blocks HIV-1 infection of primary targets including T cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells (DC); (ii) it exhibits a broad range of antiviral activity against primary HIV-1 isolates, multidrug resistant HIV-1 isolates, HIV-2, and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV); (iii) it prevents transmigration of HIV-1 through human primary genital epithelial cells; (iv) it prevents HIV-1 transfer from dendritic cells to CD4+ T cells; (v) it is potent when added 2 h prior to addition of HIV-1 to target cells; (vi) it is potent at a low pH; (vii) it blocks HIV-1 infectivity when diluted in genital fluids; and (viii) it prevents herpes simplex virus infection. The heparan sulfate chains of the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule are absolutely required for HIV-1 neutralization. Several lines of evidence suggest that the highly conserved Arg298 in the V3 region of gp120 serves as the locus for the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule neutralization. In conclusion, this study suggests that the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule represents the prototype of a new generation of microbicidal agents that may have promise for HIV-1 prevention.
PMCID: PMC2897270  PMID: 20439611
20.  Anti-HIV-1 Activity of Flavonoid Myricetin on HIV-1 Infection in a Dual-Chamber In Vitro Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115323.
HIV infection by sexual transmission remains an enormous global health concern. More than 1 million new infections among women occur annually. Microbicides represent a promising prevention strategy that women can easily control. Among emerging therapies, natural small molecules such as flavonoids are an important source of new active substances. In this study we report the in vitro cytotoxicity and anti-HIV-1 and microbicide activity of the following flavonoids: Myricetin, Quercetin and Pinocembrin. Cytotoxicity tests were conducted on TZM-bl, HeLa, PBMC, and H9 cell cultures using 0.01–100 µM concentrations. Myricetin presented the lowest toxic effect, with Quercetin and Pinocembrin relatively more toxic. The anti-HIV-1 activity was tested with TZM-bl cell plus HIV-1 BaL (R5 tropic), H9 and PBMC cells plus HIV-1 MN (X4 tropic), and the dual tropic (X4R5) HIV-1 89.6. All flavonoids showed anti-HIV activity, although Myricetin was more effective than Quercetin or Pinocembrin. In TZM-bl cells, Myricetin inhibited ≥90% of HIV-1 BaL infection. The results were confirmed by quantification of HIV-1 p24 antigen in supernatant from H9 and PBMC cells following flavonoid treatment. In H9 and PBMC cells infected by HIV-1 MN and HIV-1 89.6, Myricetin showed more than 80% anti-HIV activity. Quercetin and Pinocembrin presented modest anti-HIV activity in all experiments. Myricetin activity was tested against HIV-RT and inhibited the enzyme by 49%. Microbicide activities were evaluated using a dual-chamber female genital tract model. In the in vitro microbicide activity model, Myricetin showed promising results against different strains of HIV-1 while also showing insignificant cytotoxic effects. Further studies of Myricetin should be performed to identify its molecular targets in order to provide a solid biological foundation for translational research.
PMCID: PMC4278898  PMID: 25546350
21.  Molecular Umbrellas: a Novel Class of Candidate Topical Microbicides To Prevent Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Herpes Simplex Virus Infections▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(14):7636-7646.
Molecular umbrella compounds may function as novel topical microbicides to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections. In a preliminary structure-activity investigation, one umbrella compound, designated Spm8CHAS, was identified which inhibited both HIV and HSV infections with no cellular toxicity. The objectives of the current studies were to define its spectrum of antiviral activity, characterize its mechanism of action, and explore the possibility of combining Spm8CHAS with HIV-specific reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Spm8CHAS inhibited infections by laboratory and clinical R5 and X4 clade B and clade C HIV strains in cell culture. Ectocervical tissue explants exposed to HIV-1BaL in the presence of Spm8CHAS were completely protected (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50], 13.6 μg/ml), and transfer of virus to target T cells via migratory cells was abolished (IC50, 3.8 μg/ml). Spm8CHAS inhibited HSV-2 infection of epithelial cells 10,000-fold if present throughout the infection. Notably, adding Spm8CHAS to cultures following HSV entry significantly reduced viral infection, indicating that the drug also acts postentry. Subsequent studies indicated that Spm8CHAS blocks cell-to-cell spread of HSV. Confocal microscopy using a fluorescently labeled analog of Spm8CHAS demonstrated that this conjugate crosses the plasma cell membrane and is transported to the nucleus. Combinations of Spm8CHAS with UC-781 or 9-[R-2-(phosphonylmethoxy)propyl] adenine monohydrate in vitro exhibited additive anti-HIV activity with preserved anti-HSV activity. The abilities of Spm8CHAS to inhibit primary isolates of HIV, block HSV infection postentry, and cross cell membranes support the development of a combination microbicide containing Spm8CHAS with an HIV-specific reverse transcriptase inhibitor to prevent both HIV and HSV infections by multiple mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC1933367  PMID: 17494078
22.  Safety and anti-HIV assessments of natural vaginal cleansing products in an established topical microbicides in vitro testing algorithm 
At present, there is no effective vaccine or other approved product for the prevention of sexually transmitted human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. It has been reported that women in resource-poor communities use vaginally applied citrus juices as topical microbicides. These easily accessible food products have historically been applied to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and cytotoxicity of these substances using an established topical microbicide testing algorithm. Freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice and household vinegar were tested in their original state or in pH neutralized form for efficacy and cytotoxicity in the CCR5-tropic cell-free entry and cell-associated transmission assays, CXCR4-tropic entry and fusion assays, and in a human PBMC-based anti-HIV-1 assay. These products were also tested for their effect on viability of cervico-vaginal cell lines, human cervical explant tissues, and beneficial Lactobacillus species.
Natural lime and lemon juice and household vinegar demonstrated anti-HIV-1 activity and cytotoxicity in transformed cell lines. Neutralization of the products reduced both anti-HIV-1 activity and cytotoxicity, resulting in a low therapeutic window for both acidic and neutralized formulations. For the natural juices and vinegar, the IC50 was ≤ 3.5 (0.8-3.5)% and the TC50 ≤ 6.3 (1.0-6.3)%. All three liquid products inhibited viability of beneficial Lactobacillus species associated with vaginal health. Comparison of three different toxicity endpoints in the cervical HeLa cell line revealed that all three products affected membrane integrity, cytosolic enzyme release, and dehydrogenase enzyme activity in living cells. The juices and vinegar also exerted strong cytotoxicity in cervico-vaginal cell lines, mainly due to their acidic pH. In human cervical explant tissues, treatment with 5% lemon or lime juice or 6% vinegar induced toxicity similar to application of 100 μg/ml nonoxynol-9, and exposure to 10% lime juice caused tissue damage comparable to treatment with 5% Triton-X-100.
Lemon and lime juice and household vinegar do not fulfill the safety criteria mandated for a topical microbicide. As a result of their unphysiological formulation for the vaginal tract, they exhibit cytotoxicity to human cell lines, human vaginal tissues, and beneficial vaginal Lactobacillus species.
PMCID: PMC2913913  PMID: 20618951
23.  A Multi-targeted Drug Candidate with Dual Anti-HIV and Anti-HSV Activity 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(7):e1003456.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is often accompanied by infection with other pathogens, in particular herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The resulting coinfection is involved in a vicious circle of mutual facilitations. Therefore, an important task is to develop a compound that is highly potent against both viruses to suppress their transmission and replication. Here, we report on the discovery of such a compound, designated PMEO-DAPym. We compared its properties with those of the structurally related and clinically used acyclic nucleoside phosphonates (ANPs) tenofovir and adefovir. We demonstrated the potent anti-HIV and -HSV activity of this drug in a diverse set of clinically relevant in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo systems including (i) CD4+ T-lymphocyte (CEM) cell cultures, (ii) embryonic lung (HEL) cell cultures, (iii) organotypic epithelial raft cultures of primary human keratinocytes (PHKs), (iv) primary human monocyte/macrophage (M/M) cell cultures, (v) human ex vivo lymphoid tissue, and (vi) athymic nude mice. Upon conversion to its diphosphate metabolite, PMEO-DAPym markedly inhibits both HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) and HSV DNA polymerase. However, in striking contrast to tenofovir and adefovir, it also acts as an efficient immunomodulator, inducing β-chemokines in PBMC cultures, in particular the CCR5 agonists MIP-1β, MIP-1α and RANTES but not the CXCR4 agonist SDF-1, without the need to be intracellularly metabolized. Such specific β-chemokine upregulation required new mRNA synthesis. The upregulation of β-chemokines was shown to be associated with a pronounced downmodulation of the HIV-1 coreceptor CCR5 which may result in prevention of HIV entry. PMEO-DAPym belongs conceptually to a new class of efficient multitargeted antivirals for concomitant dual-viral (HSV/HIV) infection therapy through inhibition of virus-specific pathways (i.e. the viral polymerases) and HIV transmission prevention through interference with host pathways (i.e. CCR5 receptor down regulation).
Author Summary
To contain the HIV-1 epidemic, it is necessary to develop antivirals that prevent HIV-1 transmission. It is well known that HIV infection might be accompanied by other pathogens, which often are engaged with HIV-1 in a vicious circle of mutual facilitation. One of the most common of these pathogens is herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2. Since there is an urgent need for a next generation antivirals that are multi-targeted, we can now report on the development of the first antiviral of this new generation that efficiently suppresses both HIV-1 and HSV-2. We found that the dual-targeted antiviral drug affects several targets for viral replication. It uniquely combines in one molecule three important abilities: (i) to efficiently suppress HSV-encoded DNA polymerase, (ii) to efficiently suppress HIV-1-encoded reverse transcriptase, and (iii) to stimulate secretion of CC-chemokines that downregulate the HIV-1 coreceptor CCR5. The compound suppresses both viruses in a wide-range of in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo experimental models. The ability of one molecule to suppress HIV-1 and HSV-2 by combining direct activity against their two key enzymes and indirect immunomodulatory effects is unique in the antiviral field.
PMCID: PMC3723632  PMID: 23935482
24.  Combinations of 3-Hydroxyphthalic Anhydride-modified Ovalbumin with Antiretroviral Drug-based Microbicide Candidates Display Synergistic and Complementary Effects against HIV-1 Infection 
The development of a safe, effective, and affordable combination microbicide to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV combination is urgently needed. Our previous studies demonstrated that 3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride-modified chicken ovalbumin (HP-OVA) exhibited potent antiviral activity against a broad spectrum of HIV, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV), making it a promising candidate as a component of combination microbicide. Here we intended to evaluate potential synergistic anti-HIV-1 effect of HP-OVA in combinations with antiretroviral drug (ARV)-based microbicide candidates.
The antiviral activity of HP-OVA and the ARVs, including HIV-1 entry inhibitors (T20, C52L, NB64, NBD556, AMD3100 and Maraviroc) and reverse transcriptase inhibitors (Tenofovir, UC781 and TMC120), tested alone or in combination, against HIV-1 X4 and R5 viruses, including some drug-resistant strains, was determined in MT-2 and peripheral blood mononuclear cells using p24 assay. The immune responses induced by HP-OVA that was applied in the vaginas of rats were detected by ELISA.
When each of these ARV-based microbicide candidates was combined with HP-OVA, synergistic activity was observed against infection by both X4 and R5 strains, and the degree of synergy differed in each case. HP-OVA was highly effective against several ARV-resistant HIV-1 strains, suggesting that combining HP-OVA with these ARV-based microbicide candidates might work cooperatively against both drug-sensitive and resistant HIV-1 strains. Human body fluids and human proteins had little or no effects on HP-OVA-mediated inhibitory activity against HIV-1 infection. HP-OVA formulated in the universal gel maintained its antiviral activity for at least one month and only induced weak immune responses after its multiple applications in the vaginas of rats.
Synergistic and complementary effects against infection by a broad spectrum of HIV-1 strains were observed by combining HP-OVA with the ARV-based microbicide candidates. These findings provide a sound scientific platform for the development of a safe, effective and affordable combination microbicide to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmissible viruses.
PMCID: PMC3084366  PMID: 21239999
HIV; 3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride-modified chicken ovalbumin; synergism; antiretroviral drug-based microbicides
25.  Hydrogels containing monocaprin have potent microbicidal activities against sexually transmitted viruses and bacteria in vitro 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  1999;75(3):181-185.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the in vitro microbicidal and cytocidal potency of monocaprin dissolved in pharmaceutical hydrogel formulations and to evaluate their potential use as vaginal microbicides against sexually transmitted pathogens such as herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), Chlamydia trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. METHODS: Gel formulations were mixed with equal volumes of virus/bacteria suspensions in culture medium and incubated for 1 and 5 minutes. The reduction in virus/bacteria titre was used as a measure of microbicidal activity. Similarly, gels were mixed with human semen to study their effect on leucocytes. The toxicity of the gels was tested in rabbits by the standard vaginal irritation test. RESULTS: Gels containing 20 mM of monocaprin caused a greater than 100,000-fold inactivation of HSV-2 and Neisseria in 1 minute and of Chlamydia in 5 minutes. Similarly, the gels caused a greater than 10,000-fold inactivation of HIV-1 in semen in 1 minute. They caused more than a 10,000-fold reduction in the number of viable leucocytes in semen in 1 minute. No toxic effect on the vaginal mucosa of rabbits was observed after daily exposure for 10 days. CONCLUSIONS: Hydrogels containing monocaprin are potent inactivators of sexually transmitted viruses and bacteria in vitro. This simple lipid seems to be a feasible choice as a mucosal microbicide for prevention of sexually transmitted infections. It is a natural compound found in certain foodstuffs such as milk and is therefore unlikely to cause harmful side effects in the concentrations used. 

PMCID: PMC1758207  PMID: 10448397

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