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Maraviroc is associated with latent HIV-1 reactivation through NF-κB activation in resting CD4 + T cells from HIV-Infected Individuals on Suppressive Antiretroviral Therapy.


Maraviroc is a CCR5 antagonist used in the treatment of HIV-1 infection. We and others have suggested that maraviroc could reactivate latent HIV-1. To test the latency reversing potential of maraviroc and the mechanisms involved, we performed a phase-II, single-center, open-label study in which maraviroc was administered for 10 days to 20 HIV-1-infected individuals on suppressive antiretroviral therapy (Eudra CT: 2012-003215-66). All patients completed full maraviroc dosing and follow up. The primary endpoint was to study whether maraviroc may reactivate HIV-1 latency, eliciting signalling pathways involved in the viral reactivation. An increase in HIV-1 transcription in resting CD4T-cells, estimated by HIV-1 unspliced RNA, was observed. Moreover, activation of the NF-κB transcription factor was observed in these cells. In contrast, AP-1 and NFAT activity was not detected. To elucidate the mechanism of NF-κB activation by maraviroc, we have evaluated in HeLa P4 C5 cells, which stably express CCR5, if maraviroc could be acting as a partial CCR5-agonist, with no other mechanisms or pathways involved. Our results show that maraviroc can induce NF-κB activity and NF-κB target genes expression by CCR5 binding, since the use of TAK779, a CCR5 inhibitor, blocked NF-κB activation and functionality. Taken together, we show that maraviroc may have a role in the activation of latent virus transcription through the activation of NF-κB as a result of binding CCR5. Our results strongly support a novel use of maraviroc as a potential latency reversal agent in HIV-1-infected patients.HIV-1 persistence in a small pool of long-lived latently infected resting CD4T-cells is a major barrier to viral eradication in HIV-1-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy. A potential strategy to cure HIV-1-infection is the use of latency reversing agents to eliminate the reservoirs established in resting CD4T-cells. As no drug has been shown to be completely effective so far, the search for new drugs and combinations remains a priority in the HIV cure. We examined the ability of maraviroc, a CCR5-antagonist used as an antiretroviral drug, to activate latent HIV-1 in infected-individuals on antiretroviral therapy. The study showed that maraviroc can activate NF-κB and, subsequently, induce latent HIV-1-transcription in resting CD4T-cells from HIV-1-infected individuals on suppressive antiretroviral therapy. Additional interventions will be needed to eliminate latent HIV-1 infection. Our results suggest that maraviroc may be a new latency reversing agent to interfere with HIV-1 persistence during antiretroviral therapy. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.