A decrease of mitochondrial membrane potential has been hypothesized to be a marker of apoptotic cells, including activated T lymphocytes. It was recently demonstrated that HIV protease inhibitors, independently from any viral infection, can hinder lymphocyte apoptosis by influencing mitochondrial homeostasis. To analyze the mechanisms underlying these effects, a specific study was undertaken in both resting and activated human PBL exposed to either receptor (e.g., anti-Fas)- or nonreceptor (e.g., radiation)-mediated apoptotic stimuli. T cell activation was found to be accompanied by a significant increase in mitochondrial membrane potential, or hyperpolarization, which was undetectable in resting cells. We also detected apoptotic hindering by HIV protease inhibitors only in activated T lymphocytes. This was apparently due to the ability of these drugs to block activation-associated mitochondria hyperpolarization, which, in turn, was paralleled by an impairment of cell cycle progression. Remarkably, protease inhibitors also prevented zidovudine-mediated mitochondrial toxicity. Finally, HIV-infected cells from naive patients behaved identically to activated T cells, displaying hyperpolarized mitochondria, while lymphocytes from patients under highly active antiretroviral therapy (which included HIV protease inhibitors) seemed to react as resting cells. Altogether these results clearly indicate that the hyperpolarization state of mitochondria may represent a prerequisite for the sensitization of lymphocytes to the so-called activation-induced cell death. They also suggest that HIV protease inhibitors, by interfering with induction of the mitochondrial hyperpolarization state, can result in cell survival even independent of any viral infection.
|Numero di pagine||10|
|Rivista||Journal of Immunology|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2003|
- Mitochondrial membrane
- T Lymphocytes