News & Events

Lauren West

Posted on April 15, 2015


Date - April 15, 2015
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


MS Thesis – 602
Title: ” Nutritional Manipulations of HIV/AIDS: The Effects of Ergothioneine and Cultural Complementary and Alternative Medicines on HIV”
Advisor Dr. Taylor


The use of complementary and alternative medicine in minority populations in individuals infected with HIV is prevalent and requires laboratory confirmation of cultural practices. The manipulation of HIV via nutritional supplementation could provide insight to the efficacy of cultural remedies. Ergothioneine, a compound derived from mushrooms and a naturally occurring amino acid, was used as a positive control due to its confirmed cessation of HIV proliferation via an inhibition of the NF-B transcription factor. Four herbal remedies, which are purported to prevent or treat HIV infection by Black and Latino HIV patients and uninfected individuals, were also tested for antiviral properties. Ergothioneine, Hypoxis hemerocallidea, Sutherlandia frutescens, Opuntia ficus-indica, and Uncaria tomentosa were liquefied and used to prepare serial dilutions. The dilutions were used to treat CEM-GFP cells in cytoxicity assays to determine ideal concentrations for treatments. Once concentrations of each treatment were elected, CEM-GFP cells were cultured in the presence of the dilutions prior to HIV infection and monitored for GFP expression, with higher GFP fluorescence signifying cellular stress and significant drops in fluorescence being interpreted as cell death. Results signified the possibility that ergothioneine, Hypoxis hemerocallidea, and Sutherlandia frutescens prevented HIV proliferation post-infection while Opuntia ficus-indica and Uncaria tomentosa both stabilized cells prior to infection and inhibited HIV proliferation postinfection.