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Infectio

Print version ISSN 0123-9392

Abstract

HIGUITA, Edwin Andrés; RUGELES, María Teresa  and  MONTOYA, Carlos Julio. Immunomodulatory and anti-HIV activity of statins. Infect. [online]. 2011, vol.15, n.2, pp.108-117. ISSN 0123-9392.

Statins are hypolipemiant drugs used for controlling atherogenesis and cardiovascular diseases caused by hypercholesterolemia. Recently, several pleiotropic effects of statins have been reported, whereas dependent or independent of downregulating cholesterol synthesis; these effects range from immune response modulation to inhibition of the infection and viral replication. The antiretroviral therapy against HIV inhibits viral replication in infected cells, decreasing to undetectable levels the number of viral RNA copies in plasma. Consequently, there is an increase in circulating CD4+ T-cell count, and a decrease in the incidence of opportunistic infections and mortality. However, the cost and complexity of antiretroviral regimens, the frequent side effects and the emergence of resistant strains, indicate the need of new approaches for HIV infection. Since HIV virions require of cholesterol in their envelope and the integrity of host membrane lipid rafts, in order to infect target cells and to perform several steps of their replication cycle, it has been proposed that the use of statins in HIV-1 infected patients can be an effective alternative to help control this infection. The anti-HIV activity of statins is not directed against viral proteins, which are highly variable due to viral mutations, but instead it focuses on cellular targets blocking their infection and regulating their functional responses. From this point of view, statins could avoid the emergence of resistant viral strains and intervene in the modulation of the highly altered immune responses.

Keywords : Statins; immunomodulation; antiviral activity; human immunodeficiency virus.

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