Inhibition by AZT of HIV-1 replication in acutely infected U-937 cells

J Leukoc Biol. 1990 Jun;47(6):498-505. doi: 10.1002/jlb.47.6.498.


We studied the effect of AZT on the replication of HIV-1 in freshly and chronically infected U-937 monocytoid cells over a period of 2 months. Expression of viral antigens was monitored by indirect immunofluorescence, and viral replication was assessed by reverse transcriptase assay on virus pelleted from culture fluids. In U-937 cells not treated by AZT, viral antigens were expressed by 7 days after infection. The inclusion of a variety of concentrations of AZT in the culture medium was shown to retard virus replication in a dose-dependent fashion, although a complete inhibitory effect was not seen with any clinically attainable concentration of drug. Exposure of HIV-1-inoculated cells to AZT did not give rise to progeny virus possessing a drug-resistant phenotype. However, the study of clonal derivatives of U-937 cells revealed cellular variants with increased susceptibility to HIV-1, and against which AZT had reduced effectiveness in comparison with the parental line. No effect of AZT was seen on cells already infected by HIV-1, suggesting that this drug had no influence on viral replication in U-937 cells into which viral DNA had previously integrated.

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral / drug effects
  • Genetic Variation
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / pharmacology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / microbiology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / microbiology
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*
  • Zidovudine / pharmacology*


  • Zidovudine
  • Hydrocortisone