In brief : HIV's accomplice

2019-02-26 03:19:01

A PROTEIN that hampers the absorption of anti-HIV drugs in the brain has been tracked down by researchers. Drugs called protease inhibitors are needed to fight devastating AIDS-related illnesses such as dementia. Richard Kim and his colleagues at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, suspected that a protein called P-glycoprotein (Pgp) hampers their absorption in the brain. The team confirmed this using mice that were genetically engineered to lack Pgp. Levels of protein inhibitors in the brain were between 7 and 36 times as high in these animals (The Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 101, p 289). “Pgp appears to be a significant player in giving sanctuary sites to the virus,” says Kim, who notes that medicines which dampen Pgp’s activity already exist. These could lower the necessary dose of protease inhibitors,