Dextran sulfate suppression of viruses in the HIV family: inhibition of virion binding to CD4+ cells

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Science  29 Apr 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4852, pp. 646-649
DOI: 10.1126/science.2452480


The first step in the infection of human T lymphocytes by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is attachment to the target cell receptor, the CD4 antigen. This step may be vulnerable to attack by antibodies, chemicals, or small peptides. Dextran sulfate (molecular weight approximately 8000), which has been given to patients as an anticoagulant or antilipemic agent for more than two decades, was found to block the binding of virions to various target T lymphocytes, inhibit syncytia formation, and exert a potent inhibitory effect against HIV-1 in vitro at concentrations that may be clinically attainable in human beings. This drug also suppressed the replication of HIV-2 in vitro. These observations could have theoretical and clinical implications in the strategy to develop drugs against HIV types 1 and 2.

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