Scientists manage to destroy ex vivo "reservoirs" of HIV
The current methods of treating HIV infection imply the need for patients to receive lifelong therapy, since even the most modern drugs are not yet able to eliminate the viral "reservoirs" that are hiding in immune cells.
A group of researchers from the Pasteur Institute was able to determine the characteristics of CD4-infected T-lymphocytes — their metabolic activity allowed HIV to multiply — and using inhibitors of metabolic activity to destroy these infected cells- “reservoirs” ex vivo. The results of the study were published in the journal Cell Metabolism on December 20th.
Antiretroviral therapy currently used is used to block HIV infection, but is not able to destroy the virus. HIV, taking a latent, inactive, form remains in the so-called “reservoirs” - immune cells of CD4 T-lymphocytes until the moment of a critical decrease in the concentration of ART in the body.
However, as you know, the virus does not infect all types of CD4 cells, and so far the reason for this has not been completely clear. In a study conducted at the Pasteur Institute, scientists were able to restore in detail the characteristics of various CD4 subpopulations that are associated with HIV infection.
The more CD4 cells appear, or the more they are involved, the more energy they need to produce to perform their functions. Experiments have shown that it is the metabolic activity of the cell and, in particular, the consumption of glucose that plays a key role in susceptibility to HIV infection. The virus mainly targets cells with high metabolic activity. To replicate, it captures the energy and products provided by the cell.
This need is a vulnerable place for the virus, and can be used to eliminate infected cells. Scientists have succeeded in blocking ex vivo infection due to inhibitors of metabolic activity, which have already been studied in cancer studies.