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