Pentoxifylline (Trental) decreases the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and in cultured T cells

F Fazely, B J Dezube, J Allen-Ryan, A B Pardee, R M Ruprecht
Blood 1991 April 15, 77 (8): 1653-6
Pentoxifylline (Trental), used routinely for the treatment of intermittent claudication, has been shown previously to decrease the levels of tumor necrosis factors-alpha (TNF-alpha) RNA in cancer patients and to lead to a general improvement of well being. Increased TNF-alpha levels have been observed not only in cancer patients but also in cachectic patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and TNF-alpha is known to increase the expression of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) via activating its long terminal repeat (LTR). Moreover, TNF-alpha decreases the therapeutic efficacy of zidovudine (AZT). Here we show a significant decrease in HIV-1 replication by pentoxifylline in infected human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The reduction was proportional to the downregulation of expression of a reporter gene, the bacterial gene for chloramphenicol acetyl transferase, linked to the HIV-1 LTR in human monocytoid cells. We conclude that patients with AIDS may benefit from pentoxifylline treatment because of its blockage of TNF-alpha-mediated HIV-1 upregulation, from increased efficacy of AZT, and also from improvement in TNF-alpha-induced cachexia.

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