TitleComparative study of the anti-HIV activities of ascorbate and thiol-containing reducing agents in chronically HIV-infected cells.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsHarakeh S, Jariwalla RJ
JournalAm J Clin Nutr
Issue6 Suppl
Date Published1991 12
KeywordsAcetylcysteine, Ascorbic Acid, Cell Division, Cells, Cultured, Glutathione, HIV, Humans, RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase, Sulfhydryl Compounds

To elucidate the action of vitamin C on pathogenic human retroviruses, we investigated and compared the effects of noncytoxic concentrations of ascorbic acid (AA), its calcium salt (Ca-ascorbate), and two thiol-based reducing agents [glutathione (GSH) and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)] against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 replication in chronically infected T lymphocytes. Ca-ascorbate reduced extracellular HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) activity by about the same magnitude as the equivalent dose of AA. Long-term experiments showed that continuous presence of ascorbate was necessary for HIV suppression. NAC (10 mmol/L) caused less than twofold inhibition of HIV RT and conferred a synergistic effect (approximately eightfold inhibition) when tested simultaneously with AA (0.426 mmol/L). In contrast, nonesterified GSH (less than or equal to 1.838 mmol/L) had no effect on RT concentrations and did not potentiate the anti-HIV effect of AA. These results further support the potent antiviral activity of ascorbate and suggest its therapeutic value in controlling HIV infection in combination with thiols.

Alternate JournalAm. J. Clin. Nutr.
PubMed ID1720598