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The use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has remarkably decreased the morbidity associated with HIV-1 infection, however, the prevalence of HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) is still increasing. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the major impediment for penetration of antiretroviral drugs, causing therapeutics to reach only suboptimal level to the brain. Conventional antiretroviral drug regimens are not sufficient to improve the treatment outcomes of HAND. In our recent report, we have developed a poloxamer-PLGA nanoformulation loaded with elvitegravir (EVG), a commonly used antiretroviral drug. The nanoformulated EVG is capable of elevating intracellular drug uptake and simultaneously enhance viral suppression in HIV-1-infected macrophages. In this work, we identified the clinical parameters including stability, biocompatibility, protein corona, cellular internalization pathway of EVG nanoformulation for its potential clinical translation. We further assessed the ability of this EVG nanoformulation to cross the in vitro BBB model and suppress the HIV-1 in macrophage cells. Compared with EVG native drug, our EVG nanoformulation demonstrated an improved BBB model penetration cross the in vitro BBB model and an enhanced HIV-1 suppression in HIV-1-infected human monocyte-derived macrophages after crossing the BBB model without altering the BBB model integrity. Overall, this is an innovative and optimized treatment strategy that has a potential for therapeutic interventions in reducing HAND.


© The Author(s) 2020. Original published version available at

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Scientific Reports



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Immunology and Microbiology



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