Dietary supplement reverses organ damage caused by HIV and antiretroviral therapy (ART)

May 19, 2023 | Histopathology

HIV can cause a chronic state of inflammation and dysfunction to the immune system which contributes to organ damage. Though the reason is not yet clear, mitochondrial dysfunction seems to be a great contributor to organ damage and is present in chronic HIV. Up to date, there are still no known therapies for HIV associated diseases that affect organs.

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Using a molecular method, the researchers found out that the reduction of the ratio of human and murine mitochondrial to nuclear DNA reflects mitochondrial dysfunction. In their animal model, they utilized humanized mice to be infected with HIV which were treated with ART afterwards. For three months, the mice were fed with MitoQ via drinking water for three months. MitoQ is a mitochondrial antioxidant and a dietary supplement that is widely available to the public and is safe for use in humans.

Findings suggest that HIV infected mice that underwent ART showed mitochondrial dysfunction in the human cells of different organs, such as the brain, heart, and liver. But when HIV infected mice were treated with MitoQ, there was the reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction.

The researchers noted that the humanized mice didn’t exactly recreate HIV infection in humans and how they couldn’t pinpoint the exact contribution of the virus versus the ART to mitochondrial dysfunction in human cells.

These preclinical results could serve as a basis for further clinical trials in humans with HIV.

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