Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) effects on HIV replication and host immunity: a randomized placebo-controlled study.
ABSTRACT Prior studies have indicated that dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may have immunomodulatory properties as well as positive effects on mood, quality of life, and body composition. Preliminary data suggest that DHEA inhibits expression of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV) in latently infected cells; thus, it might be a potential adjunct to currently available antiretroviral therapy. The objective was to determine DHEA's impact on latent HIV infection, persistent viral replication, immunity, and nonimmune aspects of health restoration. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 24-week outpatient intervention included 40 subjects with suppressed HIV viremia on a stable antiretroviral regimen. Participants were randomized with equal probability to receive either DHEA or placebo for 12 weeks, followed by open-label DHEA for an additional 12 weeks. Intensive virologic monitoring included plasma viral load assays (lower limits of detection 50 copies/ml and 2.5 copies/ml) and quantitative cultures of replication-competent virus reservoirs in blood cells. A full battery of immunologic measurements was performed. Measurements of hormones, body weight, and body composition were obtained. Quality of life was assessed using validated questionnaires. DHEA was bioavailable as ascertained by increased levels of DHEA, DHEA(S), and androstenedione in recipients' plasma compared to the control group. The titers of infectious HIV culturable from blood trended upward in the DHEA arm although there was no significant change in plasma HIV RNA level. No significant immune effects were observed with DHEA. There appeared to be no benefit with regard to lean muscle mass or bone density in the DHEA recipients. DHEA treatment had a positive impact on overall quality of life. DHEA supplementation in fully suppressed HIV patients was associated with an improvement in quality of life but appeared to have no beneficial antiviral, immunomodulatory, hormonal, or body composition effects, suggesting that it not be routinely used as an adjunctive therapy in this population.
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ABSTRACT: Neurosteroids are cholesterol-derived molecules synthesized within the brain, which exert trophic and protective actions. Infection by human and feline immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and FIV, respectively) causes neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, leading to neurological deficits. Secretion of neuroinflammatory host and viral factors by glia and infiltrating leukocytes mediates the principal neuropathogenic mechanisms during lentivirus infections, although the effect of neurosteroids on these processes is unknown. We investigated the interactions between neurosteroid-mediated effects and lentivirus infection outcomes. Analyses of HIV-infected (HIV(+)) and uninfected human brains disclosed a reduction in neurosteroid synthesis enzyme expression. Human neurons exposed to supernatants from HIV(+) macrophages exhibited suppressed enzyme expression without reduced cellular viability. HIV(+) human macrophages treated with sulfated dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA-S) showed suppression of inflammatory gene (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α) expression. FIV-infected (FIV(+)) animals treated daily with 15 mg/kg body weight. DHEA-S treatment reduced inflammatory gene transcripts (IL-1β, TNF-α, CD3ε, GFAP) in brain compared to vehicle-(β-cyclodextrin)-treated FIV(+) animals similar to levels found in vehicle-treated FIV(-) animals. DHEA-S treatment also increased CD4(+) T-cell levels and prevented neurobehavioral deficits and neuronal loss among FIV(+) animals, compared to vehicle-treated FIV(+) animals. Reduced neuronal neurosteroid synthesis was evident in lentivirus infections, but treatment with DHEA-S limited neuroinflammation and prevented neurobehavioral deficits. Neurosteroid-derived therapies could be effective in the treatment of virus- or inflammation-mediated neurodegeneration.-Maingat, F. G., Polyak, M. J., Paul, A. M., Vivithanaporn, P., Noorbakhsh, F., Ahboucha S., Baker, G. B., Pearson, K., Power, C. Neurosteroid-mediated regulation of brain innate immunity in HIV/AIDS: DHEA-S suppresses neurovirulence.The FASEB Journal 11/2012; 27(2). DOI:10.1096/fj.12-215079 · 5.48 Impact Factor