APR 11, 2016 3:30 PM PDT

Enzyme may make HIV meds safer for heart

Antiviral medications used to control HIV and prevent its progression to AIDS improve the health and increase survival for people with HIV—but their use has been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease.

Now, researchers have identified an enzyme that may reduce the risk.
 
"The use of antivirals in HIV patients is very important to control the virus, suppress symptoms, and improve quality of life," says William Durante. "However ... they are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease."

“The use of antivirals in HIV patients is very important to control the virus, suppress symptoms, and improve quality of life,” says William Durante, professor of medical pharmacology and physiology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and author of a new study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

“However, antivirals also are linked to the development of metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, and they are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Our study focused on protease inhibitors, a very common antiviral used to treat HIV.”

Protease inhibitors disrupt HIV’s ability to replicate and infect cells. However, they also cause endothelial cell malfunction, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.

“Endothelial cells make up the inner lining of blood vessels and are essential to vascular health,” Durante says. “When protease inhibitors are used to treat HIV, endothelial cell function is compromised. The cells’ natural tendency to promote blood flow through the vessel is lost and they also become inflamed. These issues lead to plaque build-up within arteries and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease.”

Durante knew from previous studies that the enzyme heme oxygenase-1, or HO-1, offers protection against endothelial dysfunction. Using a cell-based model of cultured human endothelial cells, his team was able to increase the amount of the enzyme within the cells.

“Increasing the presence of HO-1 in our model before exposing it to a protease inhibitor allowed the medication to do its job without causing endothelial dysfunction,” Durante says. “HO-1 shows great promise as a defender of endothelial cells in patients being treated for HIV.”

More research is needed to verify that the enzyme will prevent endothelial cell dysfunction with all antiviral medications. However, Durante feels that identifying the enzyme’s role in reducing vascular inflammation with protease inhibitors may one day make it a new option for preventing cardiovascular disease caused by HIV medications.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health funded the work.

Source: University of Missouri

This article was originally published on futurity.org.
About the Author
  • Futurity features the latest discoveries by scientists at top research universities in the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The nonprofit site, which launched in 2009, is supported solely by its university partners (listed below) in an effort to share research news directly with the public.
You May Also Like
APR 08, 2021
Immunology
It's Not Just Cholesterol That Clogs Arteries
APR 08, 2021
It's Not Just Cholesterol That Clogs Arteries
Researchers have discovered a gene that is directly linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases, such as high b ...
MAY 03, 2021
Cardiology
Task Force IDs 7 Costly Medical Procedures With No Benefit
MAY 03, 2021
Task Force IDs 7 Costly Medical Procedures With No Benefit
Researchers have identified a surprising number of health screens that are given to patients who may not need them. Thes ...
MAY 12, 2021
Cardiology
Reversing the Heart Damage Seen in Marfan Syndrome
MAY 12, 2021
Reversing the Heart Damage Seen in Marfan Syndrome
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that disrupts the connective tissues that anchor and link the body's organs, affec ...
AUG 04, 2021
Cardiology
Researchers Discover the Body's Blood Pressure Meters
AUG 04, 2021
Researchers Discover the Body's Blood Pressure Meters
For decades, researchers have sought to find the natural barometers that sense changes in blood pressure in the body so ...
AUG 19, 2021
Cardiology
How Gut Microbes May Link a High-Fat Diet and Heart Disease
AUG 19, 2021
How Gut Microbes May Link a High-Fat Diet and Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death around the world. Atherosclerosis is known to be a major contributo ...
AUG 25, 2021
Cardiology
Don't Underestimate the Importance of the Spleen
AUG 25, 2021
Don't Underestimate the Importance of the Spleen
The spleen is one of the organs we can live without, but researchers are increasingly recognizing its importance. We kno ...
Loading Comments...