Efavirenz is a potent nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor of HIV type 1 replication in microglia in vitro

A. V. Albright, S. Erickson-Viitanen, M. O'Connor, I. Frank, M. M. Rayner, F. Gonzalez-Scarano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine whether reverse transcriptase inhibitors (RTIs) could decrease viral replication in microglia. Human microglia obtained from individuals undergoing temporal lobectomy were cultured and infected with HIV-1 isolates from the central nervous system (CNS) as previously described (Strizki JM, et al. J Virol 1996;70:7654-7662). These microglial cultures were treated with one of three nucleoside RTIs (NRTIs) or with efavirenz, a nonnucleoside RTI (NNRTI), at various time points before and during HIV-1 infection. The drug levels sufficient to provide >90% inhibition of microglial HIV replication (IC90) were determined by comparison of p24(gag) release in the cultures among treated and untreated microglia. Infectious virus released from the infected cultures was also measured with U373-MAGI-CCR5 cells. Efavirenz, an NNRTI, blocked HIV-1(DS-br) infection of microglia with an IC90 of 0.7-7 nM. This value is similar to the efavirenz IC90 values for inhibition of laboratory and clinical isolates in lymphocytes, is 2-3 logs lower than the IC90 values of AZT and d4T, and is 1-2 logs lower than that of ddC in microglia. Efavirenz also inhibited infection with other neurotropic isolates, and with viruses isolated from other compartments that also replicated well in microglia. Thus, efavirenz is a potent inhibitor of HIV-1 infection in microglia. Furthermore, efavirenz IC90 drug levels are present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients taking this once daily NNRTI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1527-1537
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 10 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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