Effect of the anti-retroviral drug, rilpivirine, on human subcutaneous adipose cells and its nutritional management using quercetin

Shalini Behl, Abdu Adem, Arif Hussain, Jaipaul Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Rilpivirine, a recently developed drug of choice for initial treatment of HIV-1 infection, can greatly reduce HIV-related inflammation, but in turn, may be associated with adverse secondary effects, including disturbances in lipid metabolism and ultimately in adipose tissue distribution and function. In recent years, research findings on the benefits of anti-oxidant foods and supplements have been employed in counter-acting both oxidative stress as well as inflammation in order to reduce the adverse side effects of anti-retroviral therapy. One such natural flavonoid which possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties is quercetin. This study investigated the effect of quercetin in overcoming the side effects incurred due to rilpivirine administration. The results show substantial reduction in the accumulation of triglyceride levels in a dose- and time-dependent manner for adipose cells treated with either rilpivirine or quercetin alone and in combination, as evidenced by morphological pictures and quantitative measurement of triglycerides throughout the differentiation process. Levels of inflammatory markers such as resistin and IL-8 were increased as compared to the untreated cells. No significant changes in leptin were observed on treatment of adipose cells with rilpivirine alone and its levels were almost comparable to control. Levels of oxidative markers like superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione were also decreased. Treatment with quercetin showed a decrease in the inflammatory status and an increase in the oxidative status of adipose cells, thereby exhibiting its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. However, further assessment of lipid metabolism and adipose tissue function in patients administered with rilpivirine-based regimes is advisable considering that totally neutral effects of rilpivirine on lipid homeostasis cannot be anticipated from the current study in vitro. It is concluded that rilpivirine causes an anti-adipogenic and pro-inflammatory response pattern but only at high concentrations, whereas quercetin has been observed to decrease inflammation and restore the levels of anti-oxidant enzymes.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Adipogenesis
  • Inflammatory markers
  • Oxidative markers
  • Quercetin
  • Rilpivirine


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