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Antiviral Res. 1988 Sep;9(6):335-43.

Pentosan polysulfate, a sulfated oligosaccharide, is a potent and selective anti-HIV agent in vitro.

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Department of Human Biology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, University of Leuven, Belgium.


Several sulfated oligo- or polysaccharides such as pentosan polysulfate, fucoidan, dextran sulfate, heparin and iota-, kappa- and lambda-carrageenans proved to be potent and selective inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in vitro. The most potent anti-HIV-1 activity was recorded for the oligosaccharide pentosan polysulfate, its 50% antiviral effective dose (ED50) being 0.19 microgram/ml in MT-4 cells. It inhibited HIV-1 antigen expression in HUT-78 cells at an ED50 of 0.02 microgram/ml, and complete inhibition of HIV-1 antigen expression was obtained at a concentration of 4.0 micrograms/ml. No toxicity for MT-4 cells was observed with pentosan polysulfate at a concentration of 2500 micrograms/ml. The anticoagulant activity of pentosan polysulfate was more than ten-fold lower than that of heparin (14.4 and 177 U/mg, respectively). In fact, pentosan polysulfate achieved its anti-HIV-1 activity at a concentration that is 370-fold below its anticoagulant threshold (1 U). Pentosan polysulfate inhibits virus adsorption to the cells, as was demonstrated by monitoring the association of radiolabeled HIV-1 virions with MT-4 cells.

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