HIV drugs leads to insulin resistance and this could end in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, reports a new study.
Washington University researchers have found that HIV protease inhibitors directly interfere with the way blood sugar levels are controlled in the body. This leads to insulin resistance, a condition that occurs when the body produces enough insulin but doesn't use it properly.
Paul Hruz of the School of Medicine, and his team found that first-generation protease inhibitors, including the drug ritonavir, block GLUT4, a protein that transports glucose from the blood into the cells where it is needed.
Hruz's lab made the discovery in mice that lacked the GLUT4 protein. When researchers gave these mice ritonavir, the drug had no effect on their glucose tolerance.
However, when they gave the drug to normal mice, their blood glucose shot up very quickly, showing that the drugs impair glucose tolerance and promote insulin resistance.
"What we saw were very acute effects on insulin sensitivity that we could reverse in the mice.
"But when insulin resistance goes on for a long time, secondary changes develop, such as high triglycerides, and those are harder to reverse," he said.
The findings were published in published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.