Background: There is controversy regarding cardiovascular (CV) toxicity of the nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors used to treat human immunodeficiency virus infection.
Methods: We evaluated the effects of nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors on leukocyte-endothelium interactions, a hallmark of CV diseases, in rat mesenteric vessels using intravital microscopy and in human arterial cells using a flow chamber system.
Results: Abacavir and didanosine increased rolling, adhesion and emigration in rat vessels. These effects were reversed with antibodies against Macrophage-1 antigen (Mac-1) or intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and were reproduced in human cells. Lamivudine, zidovudine, emtricitabine, and tenofovir had no effects.
Conclusions: Our results support the association of abacavir and didanosine with CV diseases.
Keywords: Abacavir; cardiovascular diseases; didanosine; emtricitabine; lamivudine; leukocyte-endothelium interations; tenofovir; zidovudine.