HIV-1 accessory protein helps induce metabolic defects
Addressing the mechanisms mediated by Vpr might help HIV patients with the complications of insulin resistance, fatty liver, diabetes and heart disease, he said. One possibility might be using a drug or neutralizing antibodies to block the overall effect of Vpr. It might also be possible to use a drug such as mifepristone to block the glucocorticoid receptor, which Vpr activates.
“These findings add to the urgent need for a real cure for HIV, wiping out all traces of the virus, even in reservoirs where it hides,” he said.
It also suggests areas for further research with viruses, particularly those that are chronic or hide in the body for long periods, such as herpes, adenovirus or cytomegalovirus (CMV).
“It would be a good idea to focus research efforts on uncovering more connections between chronic infections and metabolic diseases. Hitherto infectious diseases and metabolic diseases have been considered to be separate and unconnected – I think it’s time to revise our thinking about that,” he said.
Others who took part in this research include: Rajagopal V. Sekhar, Toni Oplt, Eric D. Buras, Susan L. Samson, Maria C. Rodriguez-Barradas and Farook Jahoor, all of BCM; Terry M. Phillips and Tomoshige Kino, both of the National Institutes of Health; Ulrich Schubert of the University of Erlangen in Germany; Jacob Couturier and Dorothy E. Lewis, both of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Jeffrey B. Kopp of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and Sanjeet G. Patel of the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center in California. Balasubramanyam, Sekhar and Samson are also with Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital. Rodriguez-Barradas is also with the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Buras is now with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
This work was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (Grant DK081553) and a Developmental Grant from the Baylor Center for AIDS Research (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [Grant P30AI36211]), a Seed award (NIDDK Grant P30DK079638 [Diabetes Research Center at Baylor]), German Research Council (Grants SFB 796 and 643), the NIDDK Intramural Research Program, and the NIH Office of the Director.