The histone deacetylase inhibitor chidamide induces intermittent viraemia in HIV-infected patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy.
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of chidamide to reverse HIV-1 latency in vivo and to compare the effects of four clinically tested histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors on non-histone proteins in vitro.Participants received chidamide orally at 10 mg twice weekly for 4 weeks while maintaining baseline antiretroviral therapy. The primary outcome was plasma viral rebound during chidamide dosing and the secondary outcomes were safety, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles, changes in cell-associated HIV-1 RNA and HIV-1 DNA, and immune parameters. Western blotting was used to compare the in vitro effects of the four HDAC inhibitors on HSP90, NF-κB and AP-1.Seven aviraemic participants completed eight oral doses of chidamide, and only grade 1 adverse events were observed. Cyclic increases in histone acetylation were also detected. All participants showed robust and repeated plasma viral rebound (peak viraemia 147-3850 copies/mL), as well as increased cell-associated HIV-1 RNA, during chidamide treatment. Furthermore, we identified an enhanced HIV-1-specific cellular immune response and a modest 37.7% (95% CI: 12.7-62.8%, P = 0.028) reduction in cell-associated HIV-1 DNA. Compared with the other three HDAC inhibitors, chidamide had minimal cytotoxicity in vitro at clinically relevant concentrations and showed mechanistically superior effects on non-histone proteins, including HSP90, NF-κB and AP-1.Chidamide safely and vigorously disrupts HIV-1 latency in vivo, which makes it a promising latency-reversing agent.