Mitochondrial and apoptotic in vitro modelling of differential HIV-1 progression and antiretroviral toxicity

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2015 Aug;70(8):2330-6. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkv101. Epub 2015 Apr 28.


Objectives: Ex vivo analysis of mitochondrial function may reveal HIV progression and the impact of ART. We propose a mitochondrial and apoptotic in vitro model using Jurkat T cells incubated with plasma. The objectives of this study were to evaluate mitochondrial and apoptotic lesions in this model in relation to HIV progression, and to assess the effect of >1 year of standard non-thymidine-containing therapy.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional comparison among three age- and gender-matched groups (n = 19 × 3): healthy non-HIV-infected participants, HIV-infected long-term non-progressors (LTNPs) and standard antiretroviral-naive chronically infected patients [standard progressors (Sps)], longitudinally evaluated before (Sp1) and after (Sp2) >1 year of efavirenz + tenofovir + emtricitabine therapy. We analysed mitochondrial DNA content by RT-PCR, mitochondrial function by spectrophotometry, mitochondrial protein synthesis by western blot analysis, mitochondrial dynamics by western blot analysis (MFN2), apoptotic transition pore formation by western blot analysis (VDAC-1) and mitochondrial membrane potential and annexin V/propidium iodide fluorescence by flow cytometry.

Results: There was a decreasing non-significant trend towards lower mitochondrial parameters for HIV-infected values with respect to uninfected control reference values. HIV progression (LTNP versus Sp1) was associated with decreased mitochondrial genetic, functional and translational parameters, which partially recovered after treatment intervention (Sp2). Mitochondrial fusion showed a trend to decrease non-significantly in Sp patients compared with LTNP patients, especially after therapy. All apoptotic parameters showed a trend to increase in Sp1 with respect to LTNP, followed by recovery in Sp2.

Conclusions: We proposed an in vitro model for mitochondrial and apoptotic assessment to test the effects of HIV infection and its therapy, resembling in vivo conditions. This model could be useful for clinical research purposes.

Keywords: HIV progressors; apoptosis; in vitro model; mitochondrial function.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / adverse effects*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / pathology*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / physiology


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents