Anti-HIV drug-combination nanoparticles enhance plasma drug exposure duration as well as triple-drug combination levels in cells within lymph nodes and blood in primates

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2015 Jan;31(1):107-14. doi: 10.1089/aid.2014.0210.


HIV patients on combination oral drug therapy experience insufficient drug levels in lymph nodes, which is linked to viral persistence. Following success in enhancing lymph node drug levels and extending plasma residence time of indinavir formulated in lipid nanoparticles, we developed multidrug anti-HIV lipid nanoparticles (anti-HIV LNPs) containing lopinavir (LPV), ritonavir (RTV), and tenofovir (PMPA). These anti-HIV LNPs were prepared, characterized, scaled up, and evaluated in primates with a focus on plasma time course and intracellular drug exposure in blood and lymph nodes. Four macaques were subcutaneously administered anti-HIV LNPs and free drug suspension in a crossover study. The time course of the plasma drug concentration as well as intracellular drug concentrations in blood and inguinal lymph nodes were analyzed to compare the effects of LNP formulation. Anti-HIV LNPs incorporated LPV and RTV with high efficiency and entrapped a reproducible fraction of hydrophilic PMPA. In primates, anti-HIV LNPs produced over 50-fold higher intracellular concentrations of LPV and RTV in lymph nodes compared to free drug. Plasma and intracellular drug levels in blood were enhanced and sustained up to 7 days, beyond that achievable by their free drug counterpart. Thus, multiple antiretroviral agents can be simultaneously incorporated into anti-HIV lipid nanoparticles to enhance intracellular drug concentrations in blood and lymph nodes, where viral replication persists. As these anti-HIV lipid nanoparticles also prolonged plasma drug exposure, they hold promise as a long-acting dosage form for HIV patients in addressing residual virus in cells and tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenine / pharmacokinetics
  • Adenine / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Anti-HIV Agents / blood
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Drug Carriers / pharmacokinetics*
  • Drug Carriers / therapeutic use
  • Drug Combinations
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • Indinavir / blood
  • Indinavir / pharmacokinetics
  • Indinavir / therapeutic use
  • Lipids / pharmacokinetics*
  • Lipids / therapeutic use
  • Lopinavir / pharmacokinetics
  • Lopinavir / therapeutic use
  • Lymph Nodes / drug effects
  • Macaca
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use
  • Organophosphonates / pharmacokinetics
  • Organophosphonates / therapeutic use
  • Ritonavir / pharmacokinetics
  • Ritonavir / therapeutic use
  • Tenofovir
  • Viral Load / drug effects*
  • Virus Latency / drug effects


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Drug Carriers
  • Drug Combinations
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Lipids
  • Organophosphonates
  • Lopinavir
  • Indinavir
  • Tenofovir
  • Adenine
  • Ritonavir