Inhibition of murine AIDS by reduced glutathione

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1996 Sep 20;12(14):1373-81. doi: 10.1089/aid.1996.12.1373.


The imbalance of the redox state in cells and body fluids in HIV-1-infected patients may result in progression of the disease as well as in immunologic disfuctions. In this report, we have evaluated whether the direct administration of high doses of reduced glutathione (GSH) exerts any antiviral activity and/or improves immune functions in a murine immunodeficiency animal model. Intramuscular administration of 50 or 100 mg GSH/mouse for five consecutive days weekly to LP-BM5-infected mice did not show local or systemic signs of acute toxicity. During the first 3 weeks from infection, a period in which clinical signs of disease were not yet detectable, GSH significantly reduced the viral load in lymph nodes and spleen as evaluated by a PCR semiquantitative assay of the proviral DNA content. At 10 weeks a GSH concentration-dependent reduction of splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy and hypergammaglobulinemia was evident in all treated mice. Evaluation of proviral DNA content showed that GSH was effective in inhibiting LP-BM5 infectivity in lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow at 100 mg/day, while it was less effective when administered at 50 mg/day. At 10 weeks some animals receiving the highest GSH dose died, thus only the mice receiving 50 mg GSH were followed up to 15 weeks without signs of toxicity. In this case, almost not significant differences among infected untreated or treated animals were observed. Thus, GSH is effective in reducing the proviral DNA load in the first period of infection. These data and the failure of sulfhydril supplementation to further counteract the progression of disease after 10 weeks of infection suggest that combinations of GSH and other antiviral agents may be useful for improving current antiviral therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • DNA, Viral / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glutathione / therapeutic use*
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / complications
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • DNA, Viral
  • Glutathione