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In vitro antiretroviral activity and in vivo toxicity of the potential topical microbicide copper phthalocyanine sulfate.

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journal contribution
posted on 12.05.2016, 00:00 authored by AR Styczynski, KN Anwar, H Sultana, A Ghanem, N Lurain, A Chua, M Ghassemi, RM Novak
BACKGROUND: Copper has antimicrobial properties and has been studied for its activity against viruses, including HIV. Copper complexed within a phthalocyanine ring, forming copper (II) phthalocyanine sulfate (CuPcS), may have a role in microbicide development when used intravaginally. METHODS: CuPcS toxicity was tested against cervical epithelial cells, TZM-BL cells, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and cervical explant tissues using cell viability assays. In vivo toxicity was assessed following intravaginal administration of CuPcS in female BALB/C mice and measured using a standardized histology grading system on reproductive tract tissues. Efficacy studies for preventing infection with HIV in the presence of various non-toxic concentrations of CuPcS were carried out in TZM-BL, PBMC, and cervical explant cultures using HIV-1BAL and various pseudovirus subtypes. Non-linear regression was applied to the data to determine the EC50/90 and CC50/90. RESULTS: CuPcS demonstrated inhibition of HIV infection in PBMCs at concentrations that were non-toxic in cervical epithelial cells and PBMCs with EC50 values of approximately 50 μg/mL. Reproductive tract tissue analysis revealed no toxicity at 100 mg/mL. Human cervical explant tissues challenged with HIV in the presence of CuPcS also revealed a dose-response effect at preventing HIV infection at non-toxic concentrations with an EC50 value of 65 μg/mL. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that CuPcS may be useful as a topical microbicide in concentrations that can be achieved in the female genital tract.


The authors would like to acknowledge the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation for their generous support of this research through a Grand Challenges Exploration Grant.


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This is the copy of an article published in the Virology Journal © 2015 BioMed Central Publications.


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