Monotherapy with either dolutegravir or raltegravir fails to durably suppress HIV viraemia in humanized mice

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To compare the effectiveness of HIV integrase inhibitor monotherapy between raltegravir and dolutegravir as an approach to simplify therapy.


We evaluated and compared the efficacy of 20 week monotherapy with dolutegravir or raltegravir in humanized mice (HSC-NSG) infected with HIVBaL. Plasma HIV RNA was measured by quantitative RT-PCR (limit of detection of 150 copies/45 μL of plasma) and drug levels by LC-MS/MS. Escape viruses were genotyped and analysed for replication capacity and drug susceptibility in tissue culture.


Drug-untreated control mice maintained constant viraemia throughout the study. Virus isolates from these mice were susceptible to both raltegravir (EC50 of <8 nM) and dolutegravir (EC50 of <1 nM). Mice treated with raltegravir or dolutegravir had plasma drug levels comparable to those in humans. Monotherapy with raltegravir initially suppressed HIV viraemia, but failed to maintain suppression in 4/4 mice. Viruses from raltegravir failing mice developed mutations G140G/S and Q148H/K, and were resistant to both raltegravir (EC50 values of >100 nM) and dolutegravir (EC50 values ranging from 8.8 to 13.3 nM). Monotherapy with dolutegravir suppressed viraemia in 5/5 of mice, but viraemia rebounded in one animal. The virus from this mouse had mutations E138K, G140S, Q148H, N155H and S230R, was highly resistant to both raltegravir (EC50 of >1000 nM) and dolutegravir (EC50 of 550 nM), and replicated to levels similar to those of control viruses in PBMCs.


Monotherapy with either raltegravir or dolutegravir does not consistently maintain HIV suppression, suggesting that dual therapy may be required in simplification strategies.

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