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Original article

The protease inhibitors ritonavir and saquinavir influence lipid metabolism: a pig model for the rapid evaluation of new drugs

Eskild Petersen, Huiling Mu, Trine Porsgaard, Lone S Bertelsen

Corresponding author name: Eskild Petersen
Corresponding author e-mail: joepeter@rm.dk

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2010; 15:243-251
doi: 10.3851/IMP1509

Date accepted: 22 October 2009
Date published online: 01 April 2010


Background: Studies of the effects of antiretroviral drugs on lipid metabolism are limited by the availability of suitable models. We have thus developed an animal model utilising Göttingen mini-pigs. The normal lipid metabolism of mini-pigs closely reflects that of humans and they are expected to have similar reactions to antiretroviral drugs.

Methods: The pigs were treated orally with high doses of the protease inhibitors ritonavir and saquinavir for 4 weeks. The model allows repeated concomitant biopsies from liver, muscle, adipose tissue and plasma samples.

Results: The study showed a general decrease in polyunsaturated fatty acids; changes in both saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids were also apparent after antiretroviral treatment. The changes were observed after 4 weeks of treatment. At 4 weeks post-treatment, the levels of all fatty acids were lower compared with pretreatment levels, suggesting a prolonged effect of the antiretroviral drug treatment lasting beyond the 4 week post-treatment observation period.

Conclusions: The Göttingen mini-pig model is a promising animal model for rapid screening of the metabolic effects induced by antiretroviral drugs.


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