HIV therapy with anti-retroviral drugs is limited by the poor exposure of viral reservoirs, such as lymphoid tissue, to these small molecule drugs. We therefore investigated the effect of PEGylation on the anti-retroviral activity and subcutaneous lymphatic pharmacokinetics of the peptide-based fusion inhibitor enfuvirtide in thoracic lymph duct cannulated rats. Both the peptide and the PEG were quantified in plasma and lymph via ELISA. Conjugation to a single 5 kDa linear PEG decreased anti-HIV activity three-fold compared to enfuvirtide. Whilst plasma and lymphatic exposure to peptide mass was moderately increased, the loss of anti-viral activity led to an overall decrease in exposure to enfuvirtide activity. A 20 kDa 4-arm branched PEG conjugated with an average of two enfuvirtide peptides decreased peptide activity by six-fold. Plasma and lymph exposure to enfuvirtide, however, increased significantly such that anti-viral activity was increased two- and six-fold respectively. The results suggest that a multi-enfuvirtide-PEG complex may optimally enhance the anti-retroviral activity of the peptide in plasma and lymph.
|Number of pages
|European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
|Published - 1 Apr 2019