Suppression of murine retroviral disease by 2',3'-didehydro-2',3'-dideoxythymidine (D4T)

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Antiviral Res



Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



The thymidine analog, 2′,3′-didehydro-2′,3′-dideoxythymidine (D4T), and 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine (AZT) were evaluated for activity against Friend virus complex (FV) in Mus dunni cells using a focal immunoenzyme assay. The 50% effective doses were, respectively, 1.2 and 0.1 μM for the two compounds; the 50% cytotoxic doses using trypan blue dye exclusion were 25.4 and > 100 μM. Four FV inhibition experiments with D4T were run in F1 hybrid mice containing the Rfv-3r/s genotype. This mouse strain allows the study of treatment effects on development of specific neutralizing antibodies and on splenomegaly, splenic and plasma virus titers, and splenic viral RNA. In the first experiment, D4T was given by oral gavage (p.o.) three times daily (t.i.d.) for 14 days beginning 4 h post-virus inoculation. All dosages used (187.5, 375, 750 mg/kg/day) significantly inhibited all viral parameters. Other experiments used D4T p.o. twice daily, with dosages of 46.9, 93.8, 187.5 and 375 mg/kg/day or four times daily with a dose of 375 mg/kg/day. No significant disease inhibition was seen using the twice daily treatment schedule, but efficacy was apparent using the four times daily treatment. The final experiment repeated the initial study, extending the t.i.d. treatments to 25 days and using dosages of 46.9, 93.8, 187.5 and 375 mg/kg/day. All but the lowest dose reduced each virus parameter. None of the D4T treatment regimens caused death in toxicity controls, although moderate host weight loss or less weight gain was seen, and variable hematocrit decreases occurred, particularly in mice receiving the highest drug dosage. Inhibition of natural killer (NK) cell activity also was seen in these same animals, but in infected mice, FV-induced decrease in NK cell activity was prevented by D4T treatment. Virus-specific neutralizing antibodies developed in all infected, treated animals. These data indicate D4T has potential as a possible candidate for anti-human immunodeficiency virus evaluations in the clinic.