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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2010 May;65(5):906-16. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkq082. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

Concentration-dependent effects and intracellular accumulation of HIV protease inhibitors in cultured CD4 T cells and primary human lymphocytes.

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Department of Biomolecular and Sport Sciences, James Starley Building, Priory Street, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK.



The intracellular and plasma concentrations of HIV protease inhibitors (HPIs) vary widely in vivo. It is unclear whether there is a concentration-dependent effect of HPIs such that at increasing concentration they may either block their own efflux (leading to 'autoboosting') or influx (leading to saturability/decreased intracellular accumulation).


The effects of various concentrations (0-30 microM) of lopinavir, saquinavir, ritonavir and atazanavir on the accumulation of [(14)C]lopinavir, [(3)H]saquinavir, [(3)H]ritonavir and [(3)H]atazanavir, respectively, were investigated in CEM(parental), CEM(VBL) [P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) overexpressing], CEM(E1000) (MRP1 overexpressing) and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We also investigated the effects of inhibitors of ABCB1/ABCG2 (tariquidar), ABCC (MK571) and ABCC1/2 (frusemide), singly and in combination with HPIs, on cellular accumulation.


In all the cell lines, with increasing concentration of lopinavir, saquinavir and ritonavir, there was a significant increase in the cellular accumulation of [(14)C]lopinavir, [(3)H]saquinavir and [(3)H]ritonavir. Tariquidar, MK571 and frusemide (alone and in combination with lopinavir, saquinavir and ritonavir) significantly increased the accumulation of [(14)C]lopinavir, [(3)H]saquinavir and [(3)H]ritonavir. Ritonavir (alone or in combination with tariquidar) decreased the intracellular accumulation of [(3)H]ritonavir in PBMCs. Atazanavir decreased the accumulation of [(3)H]atazanavir in a concentration-dependent manner in all of the cells tested.


There are complex and variable drug-specific rather than class-specific effects of the HPIs on their own accumulation.

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