Disturbed glutathione metabolism and decreased antioxidant levels in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients during highly active antiretroviral therapy--potential immunomodulatory effects of antioxidants

J Infect Dis. 2003 Jul 15;188(2):232-8. doi: 10.1086/376459. Epub 2003 Jun 9.


Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. We examined the effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on plasma levels of several antioxidants and intracellular glutathione-redox status in CD4+ T cells, in 20 HIV-infected patients. HAART was accompanied by both an improvement of glutathione-redox status and an increase in levels of antioxidant vitamins, without full normalization. Glutathione supplementation in vitro increases T cell proliferation and suppresses the spontaneous release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha from peripheral blood mononuclear cells, in HIV-infected patients receiving HAART. Our findings suggest that therapeutic intervention aimed at normalization of oxidative disturbances in HIV infection could be of interest, in addition to HAART.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Glutathione