Mechanism of inhibitory effect of dextran sulfate and heparin on replication of human immunodeficiency virus in vitro.

Abstract:

The sulfated polysaccharides dextran sulfate and heparin have proved to be potent and selective inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in vitro. Dextran sulfate (Mr 5000) and heparin (Mr 15,000) completely protected MT-4 cells against HIV-1-induced cytopathogenicity at a concentration of 25 micrograms/ml. Their 50% inhibitory concentrations were 9.1 micrograms/ml (dextran sulfate) and 7.0 micrograms/ml (heparin), respectively. No toxicity for the host cells was observed with these compounds at a concentration of 625 micrograms/ml. The anti-HIV-1 activity of heparins of various molecular weights correlated well with their anticoagulant activity. On the other hand, with dextran sulfates of low molecular weight (5000, 8000) a significant inhibitory effect on HIV-1 was achieved at a concentration that was not markedly inhibitory to the blood coagulation process. Dextran sulfate and heparin were not inhibitory to HIV-1 reverse transcriptase unless they were used at concentrations in excess of those that inhibited HIV-1 replication. They were highly effective against HIV-1 replication even when present only during the 2-hr virus adsorption period. Studies using radiolabeled HIV-1 virions indicated that dextran sulfate and heparin inhibit virus adsorption to the host cells.

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