The development of compounds preventing HIV transmission but preserving, at the same time, the sperm function is particular important for HIV serodiscordant couples desiring pregnancy.
Joshua Hood, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA, and co-workers developed a biocompatible nanoparticles system delivering the peptide melittin; the active component of bee venom. This molecule has an important anti-HIV activity as it disintegrates the proteic envelope that allows the HIV virus to enter into host cells. Nevertheless, melittin exerts also potent toxic effects on sperm and vaginal cells. By loading this peptide into nanoparticles bearing an inert perfluorocarbonate core, the scientists neutralized its aspecific toxicity while preserving its virucide action.
Melittin-containing nanoparticles may, thus, be used as a safe vaginal virucide for HIV serodiscordant couples whishing to achieve pregnancy.
- Nanoparticle Incorporation of Melittin Reduces Sperm and Vaginal Epithelium Cytotoxicity,
Richard Y. Zhao, Andrew P. Jallouk, Kelle H. Moley, Kenan Omurtag, Grace Hu, Gregory M. Lanza, Samuel A. Wickline, Joshua L. Hood,
PLoS ONE 2014, 9, e95411–.