Purpose: P-glycoprotein limits the tissue penetration of many antiretroviral drugs. The aim of our study was to characterize the effects of the P-glycoprotein substrate cyclosporin A on T cell P-glycoprotein activity in human immunodeficiency virus-infected participants in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group study A5138.
Methods: We studied P-glycoprotein activity on CD4 and CD8 T cells in 16 participants randomized to receive oral cyclosporin A (n=9) or not (n=7) during initiation antiretroviral therapy (ART) that did not include protease or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
Results: CD4 T cell P-glycoprotein activity decreased by a median of 8 percentage points with cyclosporin A/ART (difference between cyclosporin A/ART vs. ART only, P= 0.001). Plasma trough cyclosporin A concentrations correlated with the change in P-glycoprotein activity in several T cell subsets.
Conclusions: Oral cyclosporin A can inhibit peripheral blood CD4 T cell P-glycoprotein activity. Targeted P-glycoprotein inhibition may enhance the delivery of ART to T cells.