Modulating cellular autophagy for controlled antiretroviral drug release

Midhun B. Thomas, Divya Prakash Gnanadhas, Prasanta K. Dash, Jatin Machhi, Zhiyi Lin, Joellyn McMillan, Benson Edagwa, Harris Gelbard, Howard E. Gendelman, Santhi Gorantla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Aim: Pharmacologic agents that affect autophagy were tested for their abilities to enhance macrophage nanoformulated antiretroviral drug (ARV) depots and its slow release. Methods: These agents included URMC-099, rapamycin, metformin, desmethylclomipramine, 2-hydroxy-β-cyclodextrin (HBC) and clonidine. Each was administered with nanoformulated atazanavir (ATV) nanoparticles to human monocyte-derived macrophages. ARV retention, antiretroviral activity and nanocrystal autophagosomal formation were evaluated. Results: URMC-099, HBC and clonidine retained ATV. HBC, URMC-099 and rapamycin improved intracellular ATV retention. URMC-099 proved superior among the group in affecting antiretroviral activities. Conclusion: Autophagy inducing agents, notably URMC-099, facilitate nanoformulated ARV depots and lead to sustained release and improved antiretroviral responses. As such, they may be considered for development as part of long acting antiretroviral treatment regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2139-2154
Number of pages16
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • 2-hydroxy-β-cyclodextrin (HBC)
  • URMC-099
  • autophagy
  • clonidine
  • desmethylclomipramine (DMC)
  • long acting slow effective release antiretroviral therapy
  • metformin
  • monocyte-derived macrophages
  • rapamycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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