HIV protease inhibitor induces fatty acid and sterol biosynthesis in liver and adipose tissues due to the accumulation of activated sterol regulatory element-binding proteins in the nucleus.

Riddle TM, Kuhel DG, Woollett LA, Fichtenbaum CJ, Hui DY.

J Biol Chem. 2001 Oct 5;276(40):37514-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M104557200. Epub 2001 Aug 23.

The mechanism by which human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protease inhibitor therapy adversely induces lipodystrophy and hyperlipidemia has not been defined. This study explored the mechanism associated with the adverse effects of the prototype protease inhibitor ritonavir in mice. Ritonavir treatment increased plasma triglyceride and cholesterol levels through increased fatty acid and cholesterol biosynthesis in adipose and liver. Ritonavir treatment also resulted in hepatic steatosis and hepatomegaly. These abnormalities, which were especially pronounced after feeding a Western type high fat diet, were due to ritonavir-induced accumulation of the activated forms of sterol regulatory binding protein (SREBP)-1 and -2 in the nucleus of liver and adipose, resulting in elevated expression of lipid metabolism genes. Interestingly, protease inhibitor treatment did not alter SREBP mRNA levels in these tissues. Thus, the adverse lipid abnormalities associated with protease inhibitor therapy are caused by the constitutive induction of lipid biosynthesis in liver and adipose tissues due to the accumulation of activated SREBP in the nucleus.

PMID: 11546771

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.