Effect of the HIV protease inhibitor amprenavir on the growth and differentiation of primary gingival epithelium

Mohd Israr, Danielle Mitchell, Samina Alam, Donald Dinello, Joseph J. Kishel, Craig Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: HIV-positive patients taking antiretroviral drugs, including protease inhibitors, have shown a significant increase in the development of oral complications; these complications are a major health issue for affected patients. The effect of these drugs on oral epithelium growth and differentiation is presently unknown. In this study, we explore for the first time the effect of the HIV protease inhibitor amprenavlr on gingival epithelium growth and differentiation. Methods: Organotypic (raft) cultures of gingival keratinocytes were established and the raft cultures treated with a range of amprenavlr concentrations. Haematoxylin and eosin staining was performed to examine the effect of amprenavir on gingival epithelium growth and stratification. The raft cultures were also immunohistochemically analysed to determine the effect of amprenavir on the expression of key differentiation and proliferation markers, including cytokeratins, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and cyclin A. Results: Amprenavir severely inhibited the growth of gingival epithelium when the drug was present throughout the growth period of the tissue. When the drug was added at day 8, amprenavir treatment altered the proliferation and differentiation of gingival keratlnocytes. Expression of the cytokeratins 5, 14, 6 and 10, PCNA and cyclin A was increased; their expression pattern was also altered over time in treated rafts. Biochemically, the tissue exhibited characteristics of increased proliferation In the suprabasal layers of amprenavirtreated tissue. Conclusions: Our results suggest that amprenavir treatment deregulates the cell cycle/proliferation and differentiation pathways, resulting In abnormal epithelial repair and proliferation. Our system could be developed as a potential model for studying the effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-265
Number of pages13
JournalAntiviral Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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