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Clinical Trial Summary

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a public health problem with enormous personal, and social losses. According to the National Mexican HIV/AIDS survey, more than 235,000 new cases of HIV infection were reported in Mexico between 1983 and 2015.

HIV infection is characterized by persistent immune activation and constant turnover of T cells. This leads to a precipitous fall in the number of CD4 + and CD8 + T cells, as well as to an early immunosenescence phenomenon that conditions susceptibility to opportunistic infections and a profound decrease in circulating and mucosal T cells. In these patients, modulation of the immune response represents a promising mechanism to maintain immunological homeostasis and prevent the development of pathology. From this perspective, it is feasible that lesser immune activation - rather than accelerating the progression of infection - may be an important actor in controlling infection and delaying the progression from chronic infection to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) .

The administration of highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) has resulted in a reduction in the mortality of these patients, although the occurrence of late morbidity due to both infection and treatment has increased. Unfortunately, even in cluntries with complete coverage for HIV-infection, a large group of patients do not start treatment until late stages, in which immunosenescence is profound and the possibilities of immunological recovery (increase in T cell counts CD4 +, normalization of the CD4 + / CD8 + index, decrease in susceptibility to opportunists, normalization in the cellular response to vaccines) are very low. In this context, finding new immuno-modulatory strategies that are both easily applicable and potentially improving survival and quality of life is crucial.

The therapeutic use of neuroimmune regulators in HIV infection has been poorly explored. In brief, the nervous system has evolutionary mechanisms of reflex control of the inflammatory response, such as cholinergic anti-inflammatory reflex (RCA). Cholinergic stimulation through the use of nicotinic agonists has shown promising effects in murine and cellular models of systemic inflammation. Since cholinergic agonists are rapidly degraded or cause side effects, we performed a pilot study using pyridostigmine (Mestinon®), an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (ACh-E), in HIV-infected patients. We observed that administration of pyridostigmine decreases the activation and proliferation of HIV-infected T cells, reduces the production of interferon (IFN) -gamma and increases that of interleukin (IL) -10 (Valdés-Ferrer SI et al., AIDS Research And Human Retrovir 2009). In a second open-label pilot study in seven chronically infected patients with full virological suppression but without concomitant elevation of CD4+ T cell counts, we found that the addition of pyridostigmine to ART led to a sustained and significant increase in the number of CD4 + T cells (PRS record: NCT00518154; in preparation for publication). These results suggest that the addition of pyridostigmine to antiretroviral therapy may be beneficial in achieving and maintaining immunological homeostasis in patients with HIV.

The present study will address the potential effectiveness of add-on pyridostigmine (90mg, once per day, per oris) on CD4+ T cell counts, CD4+/CD8+ ratio, as well as ex-vivo markers of T cell phenotype and activity. The study is designed as a 24-week crossover study where patients will start a 12-week of pyridostigmine or placebo, and then crossing-over for an aditional 12 weeks (placebo-to-pyridostigmine, and pyrodistigmine-to-placebo).

Since pyridostigmine is a commonly used drug for both myasthenia gravis and as a preventive in biological warfare cases, if our hypotheses are correct, the results will be easily extended to clinical practice, as there is enough long-term evidence of utility and safety of the drug.


Clinical Trial Description

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a public health problem with enormous personal, and social losses. According to the National Mexican HIV/AIDS survey, more than 235,000 new cases of HIV infection were reported in Mexico between 1983 and 2015.

HIV infection is characterized by persistent immune activation and constant turnover of T cells. This leads to a precipitous fall in the number of CD4 + and CD8 + T cells, as well as to an early immunosenescence phenomenon that conditions susceptibility to opportunistic infections and a profound decrease in circulating and mucosal T cells. In these patients, modulation of the immune response represents a promising mechanism to maintain immunological homeostasis and prevent the development of pathology. From this perspective, it is feasible that lesser immune activation - rather than accelerating the progression of infection - may be an important actor in controlling infection and delaying the progression from chronic infection to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) .

The administration of highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) has resulted in a reduction in the mortality of these patients, although the occurrence of late morbidity due to both infection and treatment has increased. Unfortunately, even in cluntries with complete coverage for HIV-infection, a large group of patients do not start treatment until late stages, in which immunosenescence is profound and the possibilities of immunological recovery (increase in T cell counts CD4 +, normalization of the CD4 + / CD8 + index, decrease in susceptibility to opportunists, normalization in the cellular response to vaccines) are very low. In this context, finding new immuno-modulatory strategies that are both easily applicable and potentially improving survival and quality of life is crucial.

The therapeutic use of neuroimmune regulators in HIV infection has been poorly explored. In brief, the nervous system has evolutionary mechanisms of reflex control of the inflammatory response, such as cholinergic anti-inflammatory reflex (RCA). Cholinergic stimulation through the use of nicotinic agonists has shown promising effects in murine and cellular models of systemic inflammation. Since cholinergic agonists are rapidly degraded or cause side effects, we performed a pilot study using pyridostigmine (Mestinon®), an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (ACh-E), in HIV-infected patients. We observed that administration of pyridostigmine decreases the activation and proliferation of HIV-infected T cells, reduces the production of interferon (IFN) -gamma and increases that of interleukin (IL) -10 (Valdés-Ferrer SI et al., AIDS Research And Human Retrovir 2009). In a second open-label pilot study in seven chronically infected patients with full virological suppression but without concomitant elevation of CD4+ T cell counts, we found that the addition of pyridostigmine to ART led to a sustained and significant increase in the number of CD4 + T cells (PRS record: NCT00518154; in preparation for publication). These results suggest that the addition of pyridostigmine to antiretroviral therapy may be beneficial in achieving and maintaining immunological homeostasis in patients with HIV.

The present study will address the potential effectiveness of add-on pyridostigmine (90mg, once per day, per oris) on CD4+ T cell counts, CD4+/CD8+ ratio, as well as ex-vivo markers of T cell phenotype and activity. The study is designed as a 24-week crossover study where patients will start a 12-week of pyridostigmine or placebo, and then crossing-over for an aditional 12 weeks (placebo-to-pyridostigmine, and pyrodistigmine-to-placebo).

Since pyridostigmine is a commonly used drug for both myasthenia gravis and as a preventive in biological warfare cases, if our hypotheses are correct, the results will be easily extended to clinical practice, as there is enough long-term evidence of utility and safety of the drug. ;


Study Design


Related Conditions & MeSH terms


NCT number NCT03312244
Study type Interventional
Source Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion Salvador Zubiran
Contact
Status Active, not recruiting
Phase Phase 2
Start date October 1, 2017
Completion date June 30, 2020

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