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Ibudilast, a Pharmacologic Phosphodiesterase Inhibitor, Prevents Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Tat-Mediated Activation of Microglial Cells

By Michelle Kiebala and Sanjay B. Maggirwar


Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1)-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) occur, in part, due to the inflammatory response to viral proteins, such as the HIV-1 transactivator of transcription (Tat), in the central nervous system (CNS). Given the need for novel adjunctive therapies for HAND, we hypothesized that ibudilast would inhibit Tat-induced excess production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) in microglial cells. Ibudilast is a non-selective cyclic AMP phosphodiesterase inhibitor that has recently shown promise as a treatment for neuropathic pain via its ability to attenuate glial cell activation. Accordingly, here we demonstrate that pre-treatment of both human and mouse microglial cells with increasing doses of ibudilast inhibited Tat-induced synthesis of TNFα by microglial cells in a manner dependent on serine/threonine protein phosphatase activity. Ibudilast had no effect on Tat-induced p38 MAP kinase activation, and blockade of adenosine A2A receptor activation did not reverse ibudilast's inhibition of Tat-induced TNFα production. Interestingly, ibudilast reduced Tat-mediated transcription of TNFα, via modulation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling, as shown by transcriptional activity of NF-κB and analysis of inhibitor of kappa B alpha (IκBα) stability. Together, our findings shed light on the mechanism of ibudilast's inhibition of Tat-induced TNFα production in microglial cells and may implicate ibudilast as a potential novel adjunctive therapy for the management of HAND

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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