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Dideoxynucleosides: Nucleosides that have two hydroxy groups removed from the sugar moiety. The majority of these compounds have broad-spectrum antiretroviral activity due to their action as antimetabolites. The nucleosides are phosphorylated intracellularly to their 5'-triphosphates and act as chain-terminating inhibitors of viral reverse transcription.Zalcitabine: A dideoxynucleoside compound in which the 3'-hydroxy group on the sugar moiety has been replaced by a hydrogen. This modification prevents the formation of phosphodiester linkages which are needed for the completion of nucleic acid chains. The compound is a potent inhibitor of HIV replication at low concentrations, acting as a chain-terminator of viral DNA by binding to reverse transcriptase. Its principal toxic side effect is axonal degeneration resulting in peripheral neuropathy.Dideoxyadenosine: A dideoxynucleoside compound in which the 3'-hydroxy group on the sugar moiety has been replaced by a hydrogen. This modification prevents the formation of phosphodiester linkages which are needed for the completion of nucleic acid chains. The compound is an inhibitor of HIV replication, acting as a chain-terminator of viral DNA by binding to reverse transcriptase. Its principal side effect is nephrotoxicity. In vivo, dideoxyadenosine is rapidly metabolized to DIDANOSINE (ddI) by enzymatic deamination; ddI is then converted to dideoxyinosine monophosphate and ultimately to dideoxyadenosine triphosphate, the putative active metabolite.Didanosine: A dideoxynucleoside compound in which the 3'-hydroxy group on the sugar moiety has been replaced by a hydrogen. This modification prevents the formation of phosphodiester linkages which are needed for the completion of nucleic acid chains. Didanosine is a potent inhibitor of HIV replication, acting as a chain-terminator of viral DNA by binding to reverse transcriptase; ddI is then metabolized to dideoxyadenosine triphosphate, its putative active metabolite.Zidovudine: A dideoxynucleoside compound in which the 3'-hydroxy group on the sugar moiety has been replaced by an azido group. This modification prevents the formation of phosphodiester linkages which are needed for the completion of nucleic acid chains. The compound is a potent inhibitor of HIV replication, acting as a chain-terminator of viral DNA during reverse transcription. It improves immunologic function, partially reverses the HIV-induced neurological dysfunction, and improves certain other clinical abnormalities associated with AIDS. Its principal toxic effect is dose-dependent suppression of bone marrow, resulting in anemia and leukopenia.HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus. A non-taxonomic and historical term referring to any of two species, specifically HIV-1 and/or HIV-2. Prior to 1986, this was called human T-lymphotropic virus type III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus (HTLV-III/LAV). From 1986-1990, it was an official species called HIV. Since 1991, HIV was no longer considered an official species name; the two species were designated HIV-1 and HIV-2.Antiviral Agents: Agents used in the prophylaxis or therapy of VIRUS DISEASES. Some of the ways they may act include preventing viral replication by inhibiting viral DNA polymerase; binding to specific cell-surface receptors and inhibiting viral penetration or uncoating; inhibiting viral protein synthesis; or blocking late stages of virus assembly.