Selective peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma modulator, INT131 exhibits anti-inflammatory effects in an EcoHIV mouse model

FASEB J. 2020 Feb;34(2):1996-2010. doi: 10.1096/fj.201901874R. Epub 2019 Dec 28.


Despite the use of antiretroviral therapy for the treatment of HIV-1 infection, cognitive impairments, that is, HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders remain prevalent potentially due to persistent viral replication, production of viral proteins, associated brain inflammation or in certain instances, antiretroviral neurotoxicity. Cellular targets in the brain include microglia which in response to infection release inflammatory markers and viral proteins. Evidence suggests that PPARγ agonists exert anti-inflammatory properties in neurological disorders. However, these agonists namely, thiazolidinediones have limited use in the clinic due to reported adverse side effects. INT131 is a novel non-thiazolidinedione compound that belongs to a new class of drugs known as selective PPARγ modulators. INT131 is considered to have a safer profile; however, its neuroprotective role in vivo is not known.The goal of this study was to examine the effect of INT131 in the context of EcoHIV-induced inflammation in vitro, in primary cultures of mouse glial cells and in vivo, in a mouse model of EcoHIV-associated brain inflammation, as well as characterize its pharmacokinetic properties and brain penetration. In primary cultures of glial cells and in the in vivo mouse model, EcoHIV exposure resulted in a significant elevation of inflammatory markers such as TNFα, IL-1β, CCL3, and C3 which were attenuated with INT131 treatment. Pharmacokinetic analyses revealed that INT131 penetrates into the brain with a brain to blood partition ratio Kp value of 8.5%. Overall, this is the first report to demonstrate that INT131 could be a potential candidate for the treatment of HIV-1-associated brain inflammation.

Keywords: HAND; HIV-1; PPARgamma; glial cells; neuroinflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / pharmacology
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / genetics
  • HIV Infections / metabolism
  • HIV Infections / pathology
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Mice
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / genetics
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / metabolism
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / pathology
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • PPAR gamma / agonists*
  • PPAR gamma / genetics
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism
  • Quinolines* / pharmacokinetics
  • Quinolines* / pharmacology
  • Sulfonamides* / pharmacokinetics
  • Sulfonamides* / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • INT 131
  • PPAR gamma
  • Pparg protein, mouse
  • Quinolines
  • Sulfonamides