Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


HIV drugs interfere with blood sugar, lead to insulin resistance

The same powerful drugs that have extended the lives of countless people with HIV come with a price – insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have determined why that happens. Their research shows that HIV protease inhibitors directly interfere with the way blood sugar levels are controlled in the body. This leads to insulin resistance, a condition that occurs when the body produces enough insulin but doesn’t use it properly.

This confirmation provides the potential to develop safer antiviral drugs.

Paul Hruz, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics and of cell biology and physiology at the School of Medicine, and his team found that first-generation protease inhibitors, including the drug ritonavir, block GLUT4, a protein that transports glucose from the blood into the cells where it is needed. This raises blood sugar levels – a hallmark of diabetes.

“Our lab has established that one of the effects of these drugs is blocking glucose transport, one of most important steps in how insulin works,” says Hruz, senior author of the study published in the Nov. 19 Journal of Biological Chemistry. “Now that we’ve identified the main mechanism, we will look to develop new drugs that treat HIV but don’t cause diabetes.”

Hruz’s lab made the discovery in mice that lacked the GLUT4 protein. When researchers gave these mice ritonavir, the drug had no effect on their glucose tolerance. However, when they gave the drug to normal mice, their blood glucose shot up very quickly, showing that the drugs impair glucose tolerance and promote insulin resistance.

“What we saw were very acute effects on insulin sensitivity that we could reverse in the mice,” Hruz says. “But when insulin resistance goes on for a long time, secondary changes develop, such as high triglycerides, and those are harder to reverse,” he says.

The finding will help researchers better understand the role of glucose transporters in health and disease, including the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in HIV negative patients, says Hruz. He expects the results will help scientists better understand how to develop new diabetes drugs and the role of glucose transport in diseases such as heart failure.

Hruz and his team are now studying at the molecular level how the HIV drugs inhibit GLUT4.

“We’d like to figure out exactly how these drugs interact with the transporter to aid the development of better HIV drugs,” he says. “We want to find problems in glucose transport that lead to diabetes in the preclinical stage of drug development.”

The team already is working with a drug developer to create a new HIV drug that the virus does not develop resistance to and does not block GLUT4.

Vyas A, Koster J, Tzekov A, Hruz, P. Effects of the HIV Protease Inhibitor Ritonavir on GLUT4 Knock-out Mice. Journal of Biological Chemistry. Nov. 19, 2010.

The National Institutes of Health provided funding for this study.

Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Beth Miller | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>