We evaluated the effectiveness of Anvirzel™, an aqueous extract of Nerium oleander on HIV infection of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Oleandrin, the principle cardiac glycoside (CG) in Anvirzel™ has been shown to exhibit anti-cancer properties but its efficacy against HIV is unknown. Treatment with Anvirzel™ significantly reduced the infectivity of virus produced from infected cells without any change in the total amount of virus produced. This is in contrast to treatment with AZT, a potent inhibitor of HIV replication that has been shown to significantly reduce virus production. Relative to untreated cultures, virus in cultures treated with oleandrin had significantly reduced expression of the envelope protein gp120, the sole determinant of virus infectivity, suggesting a novel mechanism underlying the impaired infectivity. These results support the potential utility of the Nerium oleander aqueous extract, containing the CG oleandrin as a novel candidate anti-HIV therapeutic.
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