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The immunodeficiency virus is sensitive to hydrogen sulfide

 
, medical expert
Last reviewed: 12.03.2022
 
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12 January 2022, 09:00

The ability of hydrogen sulfide to inhibit oxidative stress and inflammation that occurs during antiretroviral treatment has been found, which allows controlling HIV.

To block HIV, doctors use a special antiretroviral treatment, which consists in the simultaneous administration of multidirectional medications that inhibit different viral proteins, which inhibits the reproduction of an infectious agent. Retroviruses are non-cellular microorganisms capable of being incorporated into the cell genome. Often, under the influence of HIV therapy, it simply “hides” inside the genome, its genes are deactivated, new proteins and infectious particles are not formed.

But situations are known in which this scheme is violated, and the virus does not want to “hide”. In addition, antiretroviral therapy is often accompanied by adverse side effects: the cell begins to accumulate toxins in itself, oxidative stress processes increase, which subsequently leads to the development of severe inflammation with damage to internal organs.

Scientists have long been working to improve the treatment of HIV. It was important to find a drug that would make it possible to take a break in antiretroviral therapy without fear of resuming the activity of the infectious agent. And recently, such a tool was presented by Indian experts - it turned out to be hydrogen sulfide, a well-known toxic gas with a characteristic rotten egg aroma due to organic decay processes. Few people know that the presence of hydrogen sulfide in small amounts is indicated in our body - inside cells and tissues, during most biological and chemical reactions. For example, hydrogen sulfide is needed to mitigate oxidative stress and reduce the abundance of reactive oxygen species.

Experts note that at the time of the resumption of the activity of the immunodeficiency virus, the activity of the enzyme responsible for the indicators of hydrogen sulfide inside the cells sharply decreases. With artificial inhibition of this enzyme activity, the oxidative balance is disturbed, the work of genes changes, and HIV is activated. The reverse process is also possible: with an increase in the content of hydrogen sulfide in the cell, viral activity is suppressed, its reproduction is inhibited. The exact mechanism of action of hydrogen sulfide is as follows: against the background of its appearance, an impulse pathway opens inside the cell, which protects the structure from oxidative stress. At the same time, the activity of the pro-inflammatory protein is closed, and a protein substance is attached to the DNA near the virus genes, which supports their “sleep”. Thus, hydrogen sulfide has a multifaceted effect, holding back the immunodeficiency virus. At this stage, specialists are developing drugs that can supplement or even replace antiretroviral treatment, which will significantly improve the prognosis for HIV patients.

Full details are provided in the source - eLife magazine

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