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Immunol Lett. 1995 Jan;44(1):13-8.

Anti-HIV effect of beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (beta hCG) in vitro.

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Department of Biochemistry, New York University Medical Center, NY 10016, USA.


Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)--a pregnancy-associated immunomodulating hormone--has been recently shown in vitro to suppress reverse transcriptase activity in chronically HIV-infected lymphocytes and monocytes and to block viral transmission resulting from cell-cell contact between virus-carrying lymphocytes and placental trophoblasts. In further pursuit of the query into the mechanism of action, purified alpha and beta subunits of hCG were tested for the inhibition of p24 gag protein synthesis in virus-producing ACH-2 lymphocytes and U1 monocytes. Unlike the alpha subunit, beta-hCG displayed a distinct U-shaped dose response, characteristic of the effect of dimer hCG. Maximum inhibition of viral expression has been achieved at 10-100 ng/ml, the concentration corresponding to blood levels of beta-hCG in pregnant women. The doses that were several logs higher of normal levels seemed to increase viral production in monocytes. The data presented supports our original observations regarding the effect of intact hCG on HIV replication. While the mechanism of action remains to be established, the results suggest that the virus-interfering activity of hCG is determined by hormone-specific beta chain but not by the alpha subunit--shared with the family of glycoprotein hormones from the pituitary--follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and thyrotropin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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