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FASEB J. 2001 Jan;15(1):115-122.

Alpha-1-antitrypsin inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.


Several observations suggest the existence of potent endogenous suppressors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) production, and inhibitors of serine proteases may participate in this effect. Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) is the most abundant circulating serine protease inhibitor. Physiological AAT concentrations inhibited HIV-1 production in chronically infected U1 monocytic cells, reduced virus replication in freshly infected peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and blocked infection of permissive HeLa cells. In U1 cells, AAT suppressed activation of the HIV-1-inducing transcription factor NF-kappaB. Similar results were obtained using CE-2072, a synthetic inhibitor of host serine proteases. HIV-1 did not replicate in blood obtained from healthy volunteers, but marked replication was observed in blood from individuals with hereditary AAT deficiency. These results identify AAT as a candidate circulating HIV-1 inhibitor in vivo. Two different mechanisms of AAT-induced HIV-1 inhibition were identified, including reduced HIV-1 infectivity and blockade of HIV-1 production. A novel host-pathogen interaction is suggested, and an alternative strategy to treat HIV-1-related disease may be possible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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