HIV-1 replication is stimulated by sodium stibogluconate, the therapeutic mainstay in the treatment of leishmaniasis

J Infect Dis. 2007 Jan 15;195(2):236-45. doi: 10.1086/510398. Epub 2006 Dec 13.


Leishmaniasis is an important opportunistic disease among patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1. The pentavalent antimony compound sodium stibogluconate is a drug of choice for the treatment of leishmaniasis. Because sodium stibogluconate acts as an inhibitor of phosphotyrosyl phosphatases and such inhibitors can promote HIV-1 replication, we tested the effect of this compound on virus gene expression. Using pseudotyped reporter viruses and fully infectious laboratory-adapted and clinical strains of HIV-1, we report that sodium stibogluconate induces an increase in HIV-1 transcription and virus replication in primary CD4(+) T cells and in thymic histocultures. This activation is a slow process and appears to involve the transcription factors nuclear factor- kappa B and activator protein 1, as well as the Syk, Jun, and mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-related kinase signal-transduction pathways. In addition, the effect seems to be partly mediated by a soluble factor. Altogether, these findings might reveal clinical implications for the treatment of leishmaniasis in HIV-1-infected patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimony Sodium Gluconate / pharmacology*
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / pharmacology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leishmaniasis / drug therapy*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / virology
  • Organ Culture Techniques / methods
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / virology
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Viral Proteins / drug effects
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Viral Proteins
  • Antimony Sodium Gluconate