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1.  Adipokines, hormones related to body composition, and insulin resistance in HIV fat redistribution syndrome 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:347.
Background
Lipodystrophies are characterized by adipose tissue redistribution, insulin resistance (IR) and metabolic complications. Adipokines and hormones related to body composition may play an important role linking these alterations. Our aim was to evaluate adipocyte-derived hormones (adiponectin, leptin, resistin, TNF-α, PAI-1) and ghrelin plasma levels and their relationship with IR in HIV-infected patients according to the presence of lipodystrophy and fat redistribution.
Methods
Anthropometric and metabolic parameters, HOMA-IR, body composition by DXA and CT, and adipokines were evaluated in 217 HIV-infected patients on cART and 74 controls. Fat mass ratio defined lipodystrophy (L-FMR) was defined as the ratio of the percentage of the trunk fat mass to the percentage of the lower limb fat mass by DXA. Patient’s fat redistribution was classified into 4 different groups according the presence or absence of either clinical lipoatrophy or abdominal prominence: no lipodystrophy, isolated central fat accumulation (ICFA), isolated lipoatrophy and mixed forms (MXF). The associations between adipokines levels and anthropometric, metabolic and body composition were estimated by Spearman correlation.
Results
Leptin levels were lower in patients with FMR-L and isolated lipoatrophy, and higher in those with ICFA and MXF. Positive correlations were found between leptin and body fat (total, trunk, leg, arm fat evaluated by DXA, and total, visceral (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and VAT/SAT ratio evaluated by CT) regardless of FMR-L, and with HOMA-IR only in patients with FMR-L. Adiponectin correlated negatively with VAT, and its mean levels were lower in patients with ICFA and higher in those with no lipodystrophy. Resistin was not correlated with adipose tissue but positively correlated with HOMA-IR in FMR-L patients. PAI-1 levels were higher in MXF-patients and their levels were positively correlated with VAT in those with FMR-L. Ghrelin was higher in HIV-infected patients than controls despite BMI-matching.
Conclusion
The overall body fat reduction in HIV lipoatrophy was associated with low leptin plasma levels, and visceral fat accumulation was mainly associated with decreased plasma levels of adiponectin.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-347
PMCID: PMC4079215  PMID: 24958357
Lipodystrophy; HIV; Adipokines; Body composition; Insulin resistance
2.  HIV-associated adipose redistribution syndrome (HARS): definition, epidemiology and clinical impact 
A segment of the HIV infected population develops abnormal and excessive accumulation of adipose tissue in the trunk, including accumulation of visceral (deep abdominal) adipose tissue. This condition, known as HIV-related adipose redistribution syndrome (HARS), may also be accompanied by fat accumulation in the upper back/neck (dorsocervical region) and/or depletion of subcutaneous adipose tissue from the abdomen, face, limbs, or buttocks. HARS is estimated to occur in up to 32% of patients and is associated with health risks similar to those of metabolic syndrome. Techniques to detect and measure HARS include physician and patient assessments and radiologic or anthropometric methods.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-4-16
PMCID: PMC1988803  PMID: 17634130
3.  Antiretroviral-Related Adipocyte Dysfunction and Lipodystrophy in HIV-Infected Patients: Alteration of the PPARγ-Dependent Pathways 
PPAR Research  2008;2009:507141.
Lipodystrophy and metabolic alterations are major complications of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected patients. In vitro studies using cultured murine and human adipocytes revealed that some protease inhibitors (PIs) and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) were implicated to a different extent in adipose cell dysfunction and that a chronic incubation with some PIs decreased mRNA and protein expression of PPARγ. Defective lamin A maturation linked to PI inhibitory activity could impede the nuclear translocation of SREBP1c, therefore, reducing PPARγ expression. Adipose cell function was partially restored by the PPARγ agonists, thiazolidinediones. Adverse effects of PIs and NRTIs have also been reported in macrophages, a cell type that coexists with, and modulates, adipocyte function in fat tissue. In HIV-infected patients under ART, a decreased expression of PPARγ and of PPARγ-related genes was observed in adipose tissue, these anomalies being more severe in patients with ART-induced lipoatrophy. Altered PPARγ expression was reversed in patients stopping PIs. Treatment of patients with agonists of PPARγ could improve, at least partially, the subcutaneous lipoatrophy. These data indicate that decreased PPARγ expression and PPARγ-related function, resulting from ART-induced adipose tissue toxicity, play a central role in HIV-related lipoatrophy and metabolic consequences.
doi:10.1155/2009/507141
PMCID: PMC2612527  PMID: 19125203
4.  Carotid intima media thickness is associated with body fat abnormalities in HIV-infected patients 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:348.
Background
HIV-infected patients may be at increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) events, and lipodystrophy is generally associated with proatherogenic metabolic disturbances. Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) has been used as a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis and it has been shown to be an independent risk factor for CV disease. Our objective was to evaluate cIMT in HIV-infected patients on combined anti-retroviral therapy (cART) with and without lipodystrophy defined by fat mass ratio (L-FMR), and to determine the association of lipodystrophy and visceral obesity [(visceral (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume and VAT/SAT ratio, objectively evaluated by CT scan] with cIMT.
Methods
Cross-sectional study of 199 HIV-infected patients. Body composition by DXA and abdominal CT, lipids, blood pressure, inflammatory markers, and cIMT by ultrasonography were performed. L-FMR was defined as the ratio of the percentage of trunk fat mass to the percentage of lower limb fat mass by DXA. Categorical variables were compared using the chi-square or Fisher’s exact test. Spearman correlation coefficients were estimated to study the association between cIMT and clinical and metabolic characteristics. Means of cIMT, adjusted for age, were calculated, using generalized linear models.
Results
L-FMR was present in 41.2% of patients and cIMT was higher in these patients [0.81 (0.24) vs. 0.76 (0.25); p = 0.037)]. Lipodystrophic patients had higher VAT and VAT/SAT ratio and lower SAT. cIMT was associated with lipodystrophy evaluated by FMR, trunk fat, total abdominal fat, VAT and VAT/SAT ratio. No association was observed between cIMT and leg fat mass. Using generalized linear models, cIMT means were adjusted for age and no significant differences remained after this adjustment. The adjusted mean of cIMT was 0.787 (95% CI: 0.751-0.823) in patients without lipodystrophy, and 0.775 (95% CI: 0.732-0.817) in those with lipodystrophy (p = 0.671).
Conclusions
HIV-infected patients on cART with lipodystrophy defined by FMR, had a significantly higher cIMT. Carotid IMT was also associated with classical cardiovascular risk factors. In these patients, visceral adipose tissue had a significant impact on cIMT, although age was the strongest associated factor.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-348
PMCID: PMC4087129  PMID: 24958511
Lipodystrophy; HIV; Carotid intima media thickness; Fat mass ratio; Body composition
5.  Mitochondrial DNA Content, an Inaccurate Biomarker of Mitochondrial Alteration in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Related Lipodystrophy▿  
Lipoatrophy is a prevalent side effect of antiretroviral treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Its mechanisms are still disputed but include mitochondrial toxicity and, in particular, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion induced by nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. To obtain an integrated evaluation of the mitochondrial alteration in lipoatrophy, we investigated the DNA, RNA, and protein levels in 15 samples of abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue from HIV-infected patients with peripheral lipoatrophy and compared the results with those for 15 samples from age- and body mass index-matched controls. The DNA and RNA analyses used PCR-based techniques, while proteins were quantified with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and measurement of activities with spectrophotometric assays. Depletion of mtDNA and mtDNA-encoded MT-CO2 mRNA was present, but normal levels of mtDNA-dependent activity (cytochrome c oxidase) and protein (MT-CO2p) showed that it was compensated for. An increase in nuclear-DNA-dependent mitochondrial activities (citrate synthase and malate dehydrogenase) and protein (COX4I1p), as well as transcriptional up-regulation of nuclear-DNA-encoded mitochondrial genes (COX4I1 and UCP2), demonstrated increased mitochondrial biogenesis. However, the expression of the known transcription factors of mitochondrial biogenesis (TFAM, NRF1, GABPA, PPARGC1A, PPARGC1B, and PPRC1) was normal or decreased. Increased amounts of activated caspase 3 and of DDIT3 mRNA showed the induction of apoptosis and oxidative stress, respectively. The mtDNA content did not correlate with any other mitochondrial parameter. In conclusion, mtDNA content does not appear to be an accurate biomarker of mitochondrial alteration in lipoatrophic adipose tissue. The preservation of mtDNA-dependent mitochondrial functions occurred despite severe mtDNA depletion. The presence of significant oxidative stress and apoptosis did not correlate with the mtDNA content.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01449-07
PMCID: PMC2346614  PMID: 18332166
6.  Increased FDG uptake in Association with Reduced Extremity Fat in HIV Patients 
Antiviral therapy  2012;18(2):243-248.
Background/Objective
HIV lipodystrophy - characterized by peripheral lipoatrophy, with or without central fat accumulation - confers increased metabolic risk. However, the functional activity of HIV lipodystrophic tissue in relation to metabolic risk has yet to be fully explored in vivo through the use of non-invasive imaging techniques. This study assesses the relationship between FDG uptake in various fat depots and metabolic/immune parameters among subjects with HIV lipodystrophy.
Design/Methods
Lipodystrophic men on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) underwent whole-body 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET)/computed tomography (CT) scans and detailed metabolic/immune phenotyping.
Results
FDG uptake in the subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) of the extremities (mean standardized uptake value, or SUV, of the arm and leg SAT) was found to correlate with the degree of peripheral lipoatrophy (r = 0.7, p = 0.01). Extremity SAT FDG uptake was positively associated with HOMA-IR (r = 0.6, p = 0.02) and fasting hyperinsulinemia (r = 0.7, p 0.01), while fat percentage of extremities was not. Further, extremity SAT FDG uptake was significantly associated with CD4 count (r = 0.6, p = 0.05). In multivariate modeling for HOMA-IR, extremity SAT FDG uptake remained significant after controlling for BMI and TNF-α (R2 for model = 0.71, p = 0.02; SUV in the extremity SAT β-estimate 12.3, p = 0.009).
Conclusions
In HIV lipodystrophic patients, extremity SAT FDG uptake is increased in association with reduced extremity fat and may contribute to insulin resistance. Noninvasive assessments of in situ inflammation using FDG-PET may usefully complement histological and gene expression analyses of metabolic dysregulation in peripheral fat among HIV+ patients.
doi:10.3851/IMP2420
PMCID: PMC3670757  PMID: 23041595
HIV; lipodystrophy; FDG-PET/CT; insulin resistance
7.  Suppression of the C/EBP family of transcription factors in adipose tissue causes lipodystrophy 
Adipose-specific inactivation of both AP-1 and C/EBP families of B-ZIP transcription factors in transgenic mice causes severe lipoatrophy. To evaluate if inactivation of only C/EBP members was critical for lipoatrophy, A-C/EBP, a dominant-negative protein that specifically inhibits the DNA binding of the C/EBP members, was expressed in adipose tissue. For first 2 weeks after birth, aP2-A-C/EBP mice had no white adipose tissue(WAT), drastically reduced brown adipose tissue(BAT) and exhibited marked hepatic steatosis, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperlipidemia. However, WAT appeared during the third week, coinciding with significantly improved metabolic functioning. In adults, BAT remained reduced, causing cold intolerance. At 30 weeks, the aP2-A-C/EBP mice had only 35% reduced WAT, with clear morphological signs of lipodystrophy in subcutaneous fat. Circulating leptin and adiponectin levels were less than the wild type levels and these mice exhibited impaired triglyceride clearance. Insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and reduced free fatty acid release in response to β3-adrenergic agonist suggest improper functioning of the residual WAT. Gene-expression analysis of inguinal WAT identified reduced mRNA levels of several enzymes involved in fatty acid synthesis and glucose metabolism that are known C/EBPα transcriptional targets. There were increased levels for genes involved in inflammation and muscle differentiation. However, when dermal-fibroblasts from aP2-A-C/EBP mice were differentiated into adipocytes in tissue culture, muscle markers were elevated more than the inflammatory markers. These results demonstrate that the C/EBP family is essential for adipose tissue development during the early postnatal period, contribute to glucose and lipid homeostasis in adults, and the suppression of the muscle lineage.
doi:10.1530/JME-10-0172
PMCID: PMC3159190  PMID: 21321096
C/EBP; dominant negative; adipose tissue; diabetes; lipodystrophy; transgenic mouse
8.  Impaired expression of mitochondrial and adipogenic genes in adipose tissue from a patient with acquired partial lipodystrophy (Barraquer-Simons syndrome): a case report 
Introduction
Acquired partial lipodystrophy or Barraquer-Simons syndrome is a rare form of progressive lipodystrophy. The etiopathogenesis of adipose tissue atrophy in these patients is unknown.
Case presentation
This is a case report of a 44-year-old woman with acquired partial lipodystrophy. To obtain insight into the molecular basis of lipoatrophy in acquired partial lipodystrophy, we examined gene expression in adipose tissue from this patient newly diagnosed with acquired partial lipodystrophy. A biopsy of subcutaneous adipose tissue was obtained from the patient, and DNA and RNA were extracted in order to evaluate mitochondrial DNA abundance and mRNA expression levels.
Conclusion
The expression of marker genes of adipogenesis and adipocyte metabolism, including the master regulator PPARγ, was down-regulated in subcutaneous adipose tissue from this patient. Adiponectin mRNA expression was also reduced but leptin mRNA levels were unaltered. Markers of local inflammatory status were unaltered. Expression of genes related to mitochondrial function was reduced despite unaltered levels of mitochondrial DNA. It is concluded that adipogenic and mitochondrial gene expression is impaired in adipose tissue in this patient with acquired partial lipodystrophy.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-2-284
PMCID: PMC2533346  PMID: 18752661
9.  A microarray analysis of sexual dimorphism of adipose tissues in high-fat-diet-induced obese mice 
Objective
A sexual dimorphism exists in body fat distribution; females deposit relatively more fat in subcutaneous/inguinal depots whereas males deposit more fat in the intra-abdominal/gonadal depot. Our objective was to systematically document depot- and sex-related differences in the accumulation of adipose tissue and gene expression, comparing differentially expressed genes in diet-induced obese mice with mice maintained on a chow diet.
Research Design and Methods
We used a microarray approach to determine whether there are sexual dimorphisms in gene expression in age-matched male, female or ovariectomized female (OVX) C57/BL6 mice maintained on a high-fat (HF) diet. We then compared expression of validated genes between the sexes on a chow diet.
Results
After exposure to a high fat diet for 12 weeks, females gained less weight than males. The microarray analyses indicate in intra-abdominal/gonadal adipose tissue in females 1642 genes differ by at least twofold between the depots, whereas 706 genes differ in subcutaneous/inguinal adipose tissue when compared with males. Only 138 genes are commonly regulated in both sexes and adipose tissue depots. Inflammatory genes (cytokine–cytokine receptor interactions and acute-phase protein synthesis) are upregulated in males when compared with females, and there is a partial reversal after OVX, where OVX adipose tissue gene expression is more ′male-like′. This pattern is not observed in mice maintained on chow. Histology of male gonadal white adipose tissue (GWAT) shows more crown-like structures than females, indicative of inflammation and adipose tissue remodeling. In addition, genes related to insulin signaling and lipid synthesis are higher in females than males, regardless of dietary exposure.
Conclusions
These data suggest that male and female adipose tissue differ between the sexes regardless of diet. Moreover, HF diet exposure elicits a much greater inflammatory response in males when compared with females. This data set underscores the importance of analyzing depot-, sex- and steroid-dependent regulation of adipose tissue distribution and function.
doi:10.1038/ijo.2010.12
PMCID: PMC3667412  PMID: 20157318
high-fat diet; inflammation; fat partitioning; gender dimorphism; mouse; microarray
10.  Adipose Tissue Depot-Specific Differences in Adipocyte ApoE Expression 
Metabolism: clinical and experimental  2011;60(12):1692-1701.
Objective
Important differences in gene expression have been documented in adipocytes derived from specific adipose tissue depots. We have previously documented an important role for adipocyte apoE in modulating adipocyte and adipose tissue triglyceride and lipoprotein metabolism.
Materials/Methods
We now evaluate the endogenous expression of apoE in adipocytes isolated from unique adipose tissue depots in four different species.
Results
Adipocyte apoE expression is higher in subcutaneous fat compared to visceral fat in humans, mice, rats, and baboons. In baboons, evaluation of apoE expression in five adipose tissue depots (subcutaneous abdominal, subcutaneous gluteal, visceral, pericardial, epicardial) showed that compared to subcutaneous abdominal adipocytes, the level of apoE expression is similar in subcutaneous gluteal, lower in visceral and pericardial, and higher in epicardial adipocytes. Consistent with previously demonstrated suppression of adipocyte apoE by adipose tissue inflammation, adipose tissue depots with lower apoE expression demonstrated greater infiltration of macrophages and an increased expression of TNFα mRNA. Depot-specific differences in apoE expression were maintained after in vitro differentiation. Adipocytes isolated from depots with lower apoE expression manifested lower rates of triglyceride synthesis in the absence and presence of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. Adenoviral-mediated increase of apoE expression in omental adipocytes increased triglyceride synthesis in these cells.
Conclusions
Our results demonstrate significant heterogeneity in adipocyte apoE expression across adipose tissue depots in several species. Because of its role in modulating adipocyte triglyceride and lipoprotein metabolism, depot-specific differences in endogenous adipocyte apoE could have important implications for modulating the accumulation of lipid in these depots.
doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2011.04.012
PMCID: PMC3192295  PMID: 21664633
Obesity; adipose tissue inflammation; visceral adipose tissue; apolipoproteins
11.  Prdm16 determines the thermogenic program of subcutaneous white adipose tissue in mice 
The white adipose organ is composed of both subcutaneous and several intra-abdominal depots. Excess abdominal adiposity is a major risk factor for metabolic disease in rodents and humans, while expansion of subcutaneous fat does not carry the same risks. Brown adipose produces heat as a defense against hypothermia and obesity, and the appearance of brown-like adipocytes within white adipose tissue depots is associated with improved metabolic phenotypes. Thus, understanding the differences in cell biology and function of these different adipose cell types and depots may be critical to the development of new therapies for metabolic disease. Here, we found that Prdm16, a brown adipose determination factor, is selectively expressed in subcutaneous white adipocytes relative to other white fat depots in mice. Transgenic expression of Prdm16 in fat tissue robustly induced the development of brown-like adipocytes in subcutaneous, but not epididymal, adipose depots. Prdm16 transgenic mice displayed increased energy expenditure, limited weight gain, and improved glucose tolerance in response to a high-fat diet. shRNA-mediated depletion of Prdm16 in isolated subcutaneous adipocytes caused a sharp decrease in the expression of thermogenic genes and a reduction in uncoupled cellular respiration. Finally, Prdm16 haploinsufficiency reduced the brown fat phenotype in white adipose tissue stimulated by β-adrenergic agonists. These results demonstrate that Prdm16 is a cell-autonomous determinant of a brown fat–like gene program and thermogenesis in subcutaneous adipose tissues.
doi:10.1172/JCI44271
PMCID: PMC3007155  PMID: 21123942
12.  In Vitro and In Vivo Effects of IGF-I on Adiposity in HIV-associated Metabolic Disease: A Pilot Study 
Archives of medical research  2013;44(5):361-369.
Background and Aims
We tested the effects of recombinant insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) in an adipocyte model of HIV lipodystrophy and in an open label study on body composition and metabolism in patients with HIV lipodystrophy.
Methods
The effects of IGF-I on ritonavir-induced adipocyte cell death were studied in vitro. We assessed lipid accumulation, IGF signaling, apoptosis, and gene expression. We conducted a 24-week open label trial of recombinant IGF-I in ten adults with HIV associated lipoatrophy. Laboratory assessments included glucose, insulin, lipids, and IGF-I. At weeks 0 and 24, body composition studies were performed including skinfold measurement, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and computed tomography of the abdomen and thigh.
Results
In vitro, ritonavir increased delipidation and apoptosis of adipocytes, whereas co-treatment with IGF-I attenuated the effect. In the clinical study, subcutaneous adipose tissue did not increase in patients after treatment with IGF-I; however, there was a decrease in the proportion of abdominal fat (39.8 ± 7% vs. 34.6 ± 7%, p = 0.007). IGF-I levels increased with treatment (143 ± 28 µg/L at week 0 vs. 453 ± 212 µg/L at week 24, p = 0.002), whereas IGFBP-3 levels declined (3.554 ± 1.146 mg/L vs. 3.235 ± 1.151 mg/L, p = 0.02). Insulin at week 12 week decreased significantly (90.1 ± 39.8 pmol/L vs. 33.2 ± 19.6 pmol/L, p = 0.002). There was a nonsignificant decrease in visceral adipose tissue (155.2 ± 68 cm2 at week 0 vs. 140.6 ± 70 cm2 at week 24, p = 0.08).
Conclusions
Use of recombinant IGF-I may lower fasting insulin and abdominal fat in patients with lipoatrophy associated with HIV infection. Further evaluation of this agent for treatment of HIV-associated lipodystrophy may be warranted.
doi:10.1016/j.arcmed.2013.06.001
PMCID: PMC4234118  PMID: 23867790
Lipodystrophy; Lipoatrophy; IGF-I; HIV; Mecasermin
13.  Epigenetic Regulation of Depot-Specific Gene Expression in Adipose Tissue 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82516.
In humans, adipose tissue is distributed in subcutaneous abdominal and subcutaneous gluteal depots that comprise a variety of functional differences. Whereas energy storage in gluteal adipose tissue has been shown to mediate a protective effect, an increase of abdominal adipose tissue is associated with metabolic disorders. However, the molecular basis of depot-specific characteristics is not completely understood yet. Using array-based analyses of transcription profiles, we identified a specific set of genes that was differentially expressed between subcutaneous abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue. To investigate the role of epigenetic regulation in depot-specific gene expression, we additionally analyzed genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in abdominal and gluteal depots. By combining both data sets, we identified a highly significant set of depot-specifically expressed genes that appear to be epigenetically regulated. Interestingly, the majority of these genes form part of the homeobox gene family. Moreover, genes involved in fatty acid metabolism were also differentially expressed. Therefore we suppose that changes in gene expression profiles might account for depot-specific differences in lipid composition. Indeed, triglycerides and fatty acids of abdominal adipose tissue were more saturated compared to triglycerides and fatty acids in gluteal adipose tissue. Taken together, our results uncover clear differences between abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue on the gene expression and DNA methylation level as well as in fatty acid composition. Therefore, a detailed molecular characterization of adipose tissue depots will be essential to develop new treatment strategies for metabolic syndrome associated complications.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082516
PMCID: PMC3855576  PMID: 24340035
14.  HIV-associated adipose redistribution syndrome (HARS): etiology and pathophysiological mechanisms 
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated adipose redistribution syndrome (HARS) is a fat accumulation disorder characterized by increases in visceral adipose tissue. Patients with HARS may also present with excess truncal fat and accumulation of dorsocervical fat ("buffalo hump"). The pathophysiology of HARS appears multifactorial and is not fully understood at present. Key pathophysiological influences include adipocyte dysfunction and an excessive free fatty acid release by adipocyte lipolysis. The contributory roles of free fatty acids, cytokines, hormones including cortisol, insulin and the growth hormone-adipocyte axis are significant. Other potential humoral, paracrine, endocrine, and neural influences are also discussed.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-4-14
PMCID: PMC1934375  PMID: 17597538
15.  Predictors of Limb Fat Gain in HIV Positive Patients Following a Change to Tenofovir-Emtricitabine or Abacavir-Lamivudine 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26885.
Background
Antiretroviral treatment (cART) in HIV causes lipoatrophy. We examined predictors of anthropometric outcomes over 96 weeks in HIV-infected, lipoatrophic adults receiving stable cART randomised to tenofovir-emtricitabine (TDF-FTC) or abacavir-lamivudine (ABC-3TC) fixed dose combinations.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The STEAL study was a prospective trial of virologically suppressed participants randomised to either TDF-FTC (n = 178) or ABC-3TC (n = 179). Anthropometric assessment was conducted at baseline, weeks 48 and 96. The analysis population included those with baseline and week 96 data remaining on randomised therapy. Distribution of limb fat change was divided into four categories (≤0%, >0–10%, >10–20%, >20%). Baseline characteristics [demographics, medical history, metabolic and cardiovascular biomarkers] were assessed as potential predictors of change in percent subcutaneous limb fat using linear regression. 303 participants (85% of STEAL population) were included. Baseline characteristics were: mean (±SD) age 45 (±8) years; thymidine analogue nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (tNRTI) duration 4 (±3) years; limb fat 5.4 (±3.0)kg; body mass index 24.7 (±3.5) kg/m2. Mean (SD) limb fat gain to week 48 and 96 was 7.6% (±22.4) and 13.2% (±27.3), respectively, with no significant difference between groups. 51.5% of all participants had >10% gain in limb fat. Predictors of greater limb fat gain at week 96 were baseline tNRTI (10.3, p = 0.001), glucose >6 mmol/L (16.1, p = 0.04), higher interleukin 6 (IL-6) (2.8, p = 0.004) and lower baseline limb fat (3.8–6.4 kg – 11.2; >6.4 kg – 15.7, p trend<0.001).
Conclusions/Significance
Modest peripheral fat gain occurred with both TDF-FTC and ABC-3TC. Baseline factors associated with more severe lipodystrophy (lipoatrophy, baseline tNRTI, raised IL6, and glucose) predicted greater limb fat recovery at 96 weeks.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026885
PMCID: PMC3203920  PMID: 22046394
16.  Human mediastinal adipose tissue displays certain characteristics of brown fat 
Nutrition & Diabetes  2013;3(5):e66-.
Background:
The amount of intra-thoracic fat, of which mediastinal adipose tissue comprises the major depot, is related to various cardiometabolic risk factors. Autopsy and imaging studies indicate that the mediastinal depot in adult humans could contain brown adipose tissue (BAT). To gain a better understanding of this intra-thoracic fat depot, we examined possible BAT characteristics of human mediastinal in comparison with subcutaneous adipose tissue.
Materials and methods:
Adipose tissue biopsies from thoracic subcutaneous and mediastinal depots were obtained during open-heart surgery from 33 subjects (26 male, 63.7±13.8 years, body mass index 29.3±5.1 kg m−2). Microarray analysis was performed on 10 patients and genes of interest confirmed by quantitative PCR (qPCR) in samples from another group of 23 patients. Adipocyte size was determined and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) protein expression investigated with immunohistochemistry.
Results:
The microarray data showed that a number of BAT-specific genes had significantly higher expression in the mediastinal depot than in the subcutaneous depot. Higher expression of UCP1 (24-fold, P<0.001) and PPARGC1A (1.7-fold, P=0.0047), and lower expression of SHOX2 (0.12-fold, P<0.001) and HOXC8 (0.14-fold, P<0.001) in the mediastinal depot was confirmed by qPCR. Gene set enrichment analysis identified two gene sets related to mitochondria, which were significantly more highly expressed in the mediastinal than in the subcutaneous depot (P<0.01). No significant changes in UCP1 gene expression were observed in the subcutaneous or mediastinal depots following lowering of body temperature during surgery. UCP1 messenger RNA levels in the mediastinal depot were lower than those in murine BAT and white adipose tissue. In some mediastinal adipose tissue biopsies, a small number of multilocular adipocytes that stained positively for UCP1 were observed. Adipocytes were significantly smaller in the mediastinal than the subcutaneous depot (cross-sectional area 2400±810 versus 3260±980 μm2, P<0.001).
Conclusions:
Human mediastinal adipose tissue displays some characteristics of BAT when compared with the subcutaneous depot at microscopic and molecular levels.
doi:10.1038/nutd.2013.6
PMCID: PMC3671748  PMID: 23670224
mediastinal adipose tissue; brown fat; BAT; UCP1; intra-thoracic fat
17.  Control of Adipocyte Differentiation in Different Fat Depots; Implications for Pathophysiology or Therapy 
Adipocyte differentiation and its impact on restriction or expansion of particular adipose tissue depots have physiological and pathophysiological significance in view of the different functions of these depots. Brown or “beige” fat [brown adipose tissue (BAT)] expansion can enhance thermogenesis, lipid oxidation, insulin sensitivity, and glucose tolerance; conversely expanded visceral fat [visceral white adipose tissue (VAT)] is associated with insulin resistance, low grade inflammation, dyslipidemia, and cardiometabolic risk. The largest depot, subcutaneous white fat [subcutaneous white adipose tissue (SAT)], has important beneficial characteristics including storage of lipid “out of harms way” and secretion of adipokines, especially leptin and adiponectin, with positive metabolic effects including lipid oxidation, energy utilization, enhanced insulin action, and an anti-inflammatory role. The absence of these functions in lipodystrophies leads to major metabolic disturbances. An ability to expand white adipose tissue adipocyte differentiation would seem an important defense mechanism against the detrimental effects of energy excess and limit harmful accumulation of lipid in “ectopic” sites, such as liver and muscle. Adipocyte differentiation involves a transcriptional cascade with PPARγ being most important in SAT but less so in VAT, with increased angiogenesis also critical. The transcription factor, Islet1, is fairly specific to VAT and in vitro inhibits adipocyte differentiation. The physiological importance of Islet1 requires further study. Basic control of differentiation is similar in BAT but important differences include the effect of PGC-1α on mitochondrial biosynthesis and upregulation of UCP1; also PRDM16 plays a pivotal role in expression of the BAT phenotype. Modulation of the capacity or function of these different adipose tissue depots, by altering adipocyte differentiation or other means, holds promise for interventions that can be helpful in human disease, particularly cardiometabolic disorders associated with the world wide explosion of obesity.
doi:10.3389/fendo.2015.00001
PMCID: PMC4311677
adipogenesis; adipocyte; subcutaneous white adipose tissue; visceral white adipose tissue; brown adipose tissue; fat depot; adipocyte differentiation; adipose tissue
18.  Expression of ceramide-metabolising enzymes in subcutaneous and intra-abdominal human adipose tissue 
Background
Inflammation and increased ceramide concentrations characterise adipose tissue of obese women with high liver fat content compared to equally obese women with normal liver fat content. The present study characterises enzymes involved in ceramide metabolism in subcutaneous and intra-abdominal adipose tissue.
Methods
Pathways leading to increased ceramide concentrations in inflamed versus non-inflamed adipose tissue were investigated by quantifying expression levels of key enzymes involved in ceramide metabolism. Sphingomyelinases (sphingomyelin phosphodiesterases SMPD1-3) were investigated further using immunohistochemistry to establish their location within adipose tissue, and their mRNA expression levels were determined in subcutaneous and intra-abdominal adipose tissue from both non-obese and obese subject.
Results
Gene expression levels of sphingomyelinases, enzymes that hydrolyse sphingomyelin to ceramide, rather than enzymes involved in de novo ceramide synthesis, were higher in inflamed compared to non-inflamed adipose tissue of obese women (with high and normal liver fat contents respectively). Sphingomyelinases were localised to both macrophages and adipocytes, but also to blood vessels and to extracellular regions surrounding vessels within adipose tissue. Expression levels of SMPD3 mRNA correlated significantly with concentrations of different ceramides and sphingomyelins. In both non-obese and obese subjects SMPD3 mRNA levels were higher in the more inflamed intra-abdominal compared to the subcutaneous adipose tissue depot.
Conclusions
Generation of ceramides within adipose tissue as a result of sphingomyelinase action may contribute to inflammation in human adipose tissue.
doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-115
PMCID: PMC3478226  PMID: 22974251
Adipose tissue; Ceramide; Human; Inflammation; Sphingomyelinase
19.  HIV Infection and Antiretroviral Therapy Have Divergent Effects on Mitochondria in Adipose Tissue 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;205(12):1778-1787.
Background. Although human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) affect mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and function, comprehensive evaluations of their effects on mitochondria in muscle, adipose tissue, and blood cells are limited.
Methods. Mitochondrial DNA quantification, mitochondrial genome sequencing, and gene expression analysis were performed on muscle, adipose tissue, and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) samples from untreated HIV-positive patients, HIV-positive patients receiving nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)–based ART, and HIV-negative controls.
Results. The adipose tissue mtDNA/nuclear DNA (nDNA) ratio was increased in untreated HIV-infected patients (ratio, 353) and decreased in those receiving ART (ratio, 162) compared with controls (ratio, 255; P < .05 for both comparisons); the difference between the 2 HIV-infected groups was also significant (P = .002). In HIV-infected participants, mtDNA/nDNA in adipose tissue correlated with the level of activation (CD38+/HLA-DR+) for CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes. No significant differences in mtDNA content were noted in muscle or PMBCs among groups. Exploratory DNA microarray analysis identified differential gene expression between patient groups, including a subset of adipose tissue genes.
Conclusions. HIV infection and ART have opposing effects on mtDNA content in adipose tissue; immune activation may mediate the effects of HIV, whereas NRTIs likely mediate the effects of ART.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis101
PMCID: PMC3357134  PMID: 22476717
20.  Gene expression profiling of subcutaneous adipose tissue in morbid obesity using a focused microarray: Distinct expression of cell-cycle- and differentiation-related genes 
BMC Medical Genomics  2010;3:61.
Background
Obesity results from an imbalance between food intake and energy expenditure, which leads to an excess of adipose tissue. The excess of adipose tissue and adipocyte dysfunction associated with obesity are linked to the abnormal regulation of adipogenesis. The objective of this study was to analyze the expression profile of cell-cycle- and lipid-metabolism-related genes of adipose tissue in morbid obesity.
Methods
We used a custom-made focused cDNA microarray to determine the adipose tissue mRNA expression profile. Gene expression of subcutaneous abdominal fat samples from 15 morbidly obese women was compared with subcutaneous fat samples from 10 nonobese control patients. The findings were validated in an independent population of 31 obese women and 9 obese men and in an animal model of obesity (Lepob/ob mice) by real-time RT-PCR.
Results
Microarray analysis revealed that transcription factors that regulate the first stages of adipocyte differentiation, such as CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPβ) and JUN, were upregulated in the adipose tissues of morbidly obese patients. The expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), a transcription factor which controls lipid metabolism and the final steps of preadipocyte conversion into mature adipocytes, was downregulated. The expression of three cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors that regulate clonal expansion and postmitotic growth arrest during adipocyte differentiation was also altered in obese subjects: p18 and p27 were downregulated, and p21 was upregulated. Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4), which regulates angiogenesis, lipid and glucose metabolism and it is know to increase dramatically in the early stages of adipocyte differentiation, was upregulated. The expression of C/EBPβ, p18, p21, JUN, and ANGPTL4 presented similar alterations in subcutaneous adipose tissue of Lepob/ob mice.
Conclusions
Our microarray gene profiling study revealed that the expression of genes involved in adipogenesis is profoundly altered in the subcutaneous adipose tissue of morbidly obese subjects. This expression pattern is consistent with an immature adipocyte phenotype that could reflect the expansion of the adipose tissue during obesity.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-3-61
PMCID: PMC3022546  PMID: 21182758
21.  Switch from Stress Response to Homeobox Transcription Factors in Adipose Tissue After Profound Fat Loss 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11033.
Background
In obesity, impaired adipose tissue function may promote secondary disease through ectopic lipid accumulation and excess release of adipokines, resulting in systemic low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance and organ dysfunction. However, several of the genes regulating adipose tissue function in obesity are yet to be identified.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In order to identify novel candidate genes that may regulate adipose tissue function, we analyzed global gene expression in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue before and one year after bariatric surgery (biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, BPD/DS) (n = 16). Adipose tissue from lean healthy individuals was also analyzed (n = 13). Two different microarray platforms (AB 1700 and Illumina) were used to measure the differential gene expression, and the results were further validated by qPCR. Surgery reduced BMI from 53.3 to 33.1 kg/m2. The majority of differentially expressed genes were down-regulated after profound fat loss, including transcription factors involved in stress response, inflammation, and immune cell function (e.g., FOS, JUN, ETS, C/EBPB, C/EBPD). Interestingly, a distinct set of genes was up-regulated after fat loss, including homeobox transcription factors (IRX3, IRX5, HOXA5, HOXA9, HOXB5, HOXC6, EMX2, PRRX1) and extracellular matrix structural proteins (COL1A1, COL1A2, COL3A1, COL5A1, COL6A3).
Conclusions/Significance
The data demonstrate a marked switch of transcription factors in adipose tissue after profound fat loss, providing new molecular insight into a dichotomy between stress response and metabolically favorable tissue development. Our findings implicate homeobox transcription factors as important regulators of adipose tissue function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011033
PMCID: PMC2882947  PMID: 20543949
22.  Altered miRNA processing disrupts brown/white adipocyte determination and associates with lipodystrophy 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(8):3339-3351.
miRNAs are important regulators of biological processes in many tissues, including the differentiation and function of brown and white adipocytes. The endoribonuclease dicer is a major component of the miRNA-processing pathway, and in adipose tissue, levels of dicer have been shown to decrease with age, increase with caloric restriction, and influence stress resistance. Here, we demonstrated that mice with a fat-specific KO of dicer develop a form of lipodystrophy that is characterized by loss of intra-abdominal and subcutaneous white fat, severe insulin resistance, and enlargement and “whitening” of interscapular brown fat. Additionally, KO of dicer in cultured brown preadipocytes promoted a white adipocyte–like phenotype and reduced expression of several miRNAs. Brown preadipocyte whitening was partially reversed by expression of miR-365, a miRNA known to promote brown fat differentiation; however, introduction of other miRNAs, including miR-346 and miR-362, also contributed to reversal of the loss of the dicer phenotype. Interestingly, fat samples from patients with HIV-related lipodystrophy exhibited a substantial downregulation of dicer mRNA expression. Together, these findings indicate the importance of miRNA processing in white and brown adipose tissue determination and provide a potential link between this process and HIV-related lipodystrophy.
doi:10.1172/JCI73468
PMCID: PMC4109560  PMID: 24983316
23.  CD4 Cell Count and the Risk of AIDS or Death in HIV-Infected Adults on Combination Antiretroviral Therapy with a Suppressed Viral Load: A Longitudinal Cohort Study from COHERE 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(3):e1001194.
Using data from the Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research Europe, Jim Young and colleagues show that in successfully treated patients the risk of a new AIDS event or death follows a CD4 cell count gradient in patients with viral suppression.
Background
Most adults infected with HIV achieve viral suppression within a year of starting combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). It is important to understand the risk of AIDS events or death for patients with a suppressed viral load.
Methods and Findings
Using data from the Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research Europe (2010 merger), we assessed the risk of a new AIDS-defining event or death in successfully treated patients. We accumulated episodes of viral suppression for each patient while on cART, each episode beginning with the second of two consecutive plasma viral load measurements <50 copies/µl and ending with either a measurement >500 copies/µl, the first of two consecutive measurements between 50–500 copies/µl, cART interruption or administrative censoring. We used stratified multivariate Cox models to estimate the association between time updated CD4 cell count and a new AIDS event or death or death alone. 75,336 patients contributed 104,265 suppression episodes and were suppressed while on cART for a median 2.7 years. The mortality rate was 4.8 per 1,000 years of viral suppression. A higher CD4 cell count was always associated with a reduced risk of a new AIDS event or death; with a hazard ratio per 100 cells/µl (95% CI) of: 0.35 (0.30–0.40) for counts <200 cells/µl, 0.81 (0.71–0.92) for counts 200 to <350 cells/µl, 0.74 (0.66–0.83) for counts 350 to <500 cells/µl, and 0.96 (0.92–0.99) for counts ≥500 cells/µl. A higher CD4 cell count became even more beneficial over time for patients with CD4 cell counts <200 cells/µl.
Conclusions
Despite the low mortality rate, the risk of a new AIDS event or death follows a CD4 cell count gradient in patients with viral suppression. A higher CD4 cell count was associated with the greatest benefit for patients with a CD4 cell count <200 cells/µl but still some slight benefit for those with a CD4 cell count ≥500 cells/µl.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Currently, about 34 million people are infected with HIV and every year nearly 3 million people are newly infected with this virus, which causes AIDS. Most people do not become ill immediately after infection with HIV although some develop a short, flu-like illness (a “seroconversion” illness). The next stage of HIV infection, which may last up to 10 years, also has no major symptoms but, during this stage, HIV slowly destroys immune system cells (including CD4 cells, a type of lymphocyte). Eventually, the immune system can no longer fight off infections by other disease-causing organisms and HIV-positive people then develop one or more AIDS-defining condition(s), including severe but unusual infections, Kaposi sarcoma (a skin cancer), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph nodes). Many of these AIDS-defining conditions are life-threatening and, in the past, HIV-positive people died on average within 10 years of infection. Nowadays, although there is still no cure for HIV infection, combination antiretroviral therapy (cART; a cocktail of powerful antiretroviral drugs) has turned HIV/AIDS into a chronic, treatable condition, at least in developed countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most HIV-positive adults achieve viral suppression within a year of starting cART. That is, the number of copies of the virus in their blood drops to below 50 copies/ml. But what is the likely clinical outcome for patients who achieve viral suppression and what is their risk of developing a new AIDS-defining condition or of dying? For people starting cART for the first time, the number of CD4 cells in the blood when cART is initiated provides a strong indication of an individual's likely clinical outcome. Specifically, people who start cART when they have a high CD4 cell count tend to do better than people who start treatment when they have a low CD4 cell count. In this study, the researchers use data collected by the Collaboration of Observational HIV Epidemiological Research in Europe (COHERE) to estimate the association between CD4 cell count and progression to a new AIDS-defining event or death among patients who have achieved viral suppression while on cART.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified more than 75,000 patients in the COHERE database who, between them, had had more than 104,000 episodes (periods) of viral suppression while on cART and who had had their CD4 cell count determined shortly before or during their viral suppression episodes. The researchers then used stratified multivariate Cox models (a type of statistical analysis method) to estimate the association between CD4 cell counts and the occurrence of a new AIDS-defining event or death. Among the patients included in the study, the mortality (death) rate was 4.8 per 1,000 years of viral suppression. The highest rates of new AIDS-defining events or death were seen in those patients with less than 50 CD4 cells/µl blood and a higher CD4 cell count was associated with a reduced risk of a new AIDS-defining event or death. Finally, among those patients with a CD4 cell count below 200 cells/µl, the risk of progression decreased over time for those patients with higher CD4 cell counts.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, although new AIDS-defining events and death are uncommon among patients whose viral load is suppressed by cART, the risk of a new AIDS-defining event or death follows a CD4 cell count gradient with the patients with the highest CD4 cell counts having the lowest risk of a new AIDS-defining event or death. The findings also suggest that higher CD4 cell counts provide the greatest benefit for patients with a CD4 cell count below 200 cells/µl blood. These findings have two main clinical implications. First, they add to the evidence that suggests that, to facilitate immune system recovery, cART should be started when a patient's CD4 cell count is between 350 and 500 cells/µl blood, the current recommended range for cART initiation. Unfortunately, most patients in resource-limited settings only start cART when their CD4 cell count is below 200 cells/µl. Second, these findings suggest that patients with sustained viral suppression but low CD4 cell counts should be monitored regularly to ensure that any life-threatening AIDS-defining events are dealt with quickly and effectively.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001194.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV treatment and care (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization's 2010 antiretroviral therapy guidelines provide recommendations on when to initiate cART
Information about COHERE is available
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001194
PMCID: PMC3308938  PMID: 22448150
24.  Pretreatment CD4 Cell Slope and Progression to AIDS or Death in HIV-Infected Patients Initiating Antiretroviral Therapy—The CASCADE Collaboration: A Collaboration of 23 Cohort Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(2):e1000239.
Analyzing data from several thousand cohort study participants, Marcel Wolbers and colleagues find that the rate of CD4 T cell decline is not useful in deciding when to start HIV treatment.
Background
CD4 cell count is a strong predictor of the subsequent risk of AIDS or death in HIV-infected patients initiating combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). It is not known whether the rate of CD4 cell decline prior to therapy is related to prognosis and should, therefore, influence the decision on when to initiate cART.
Methods and Findings
We carried out survival analyses of patients from the 23 cohorts of the CASCADE (Concerted Action on SeroConversion to AIDS and Death in Europe) collaboration with a known date of HIV seroconversion and with at least two CD4 measurements prior to initiating cART. For each patient, a pre-cART CD4 slope was estimated using a linear mixed effects model. Our primary outcome was time from initiating cART to a first new AIDS event or death. We included 2,820 treatment-naïve patients initiating cART with a median (interquartile range) pre-cART CD4 cell decline of 61 (46–81) cells/µl per year; 255 patients subsequently experienced a new AIDS event or death and 125 patients died. In an analysis adjusted for established risk factors, the hazard ratio for AIDS or death was 1.01 (95% confidence interval 0.97–1.04) for each 10 cells/µl per year reduction in pre-cART CD4 cell decline. There was also no association between pre-cART CD4 cell slope and survival. Alternative estimates of CD4 cell slope gave similar results. In 1,731 AIDS-free patients with >350 CD4 cells/µl from the pre-cART era, the rate of CD4 cell decline was also not significantly associated with progression to AIDS or death (hazard ratio 0.99, 95% confidence interval 0.94–1.03, for each 10 cells/µl per year reduction in CD4 cell decline).
Conclusions
The CD4 cell slope does not improve the prediction of clinical outcome in patients with a CD4 cell count above 350 cells/µl. Knowledge of the current CD4 cell count is sufficient when deciding whether to initiate cART in asymptomatic patients.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
More than 30 million people are currently infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Most people who become infected with HIV do not become ill immediately although some develop a short flu-like illness shortly after infection. This illness is called “seroconversion” illness because it coincides with the appearance of antibodies to HIV in the blood. The next stage of HIV infection has no major symptoms and may last up to 10 years. During this time, HIV slowly destroys immune system cells (including CD4 cells, a type of lymphocyte). Without treatment, the immune system loses the ability to fight off infections by other disease-causing organisms and HIV-positive people then develop so-called opportunistic infections, Kaposi sarcoma (a skin cancer), or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph nodes) that determine the diagnosis of AIDS. Although HIV-positive people used to die within 10 years of infection on average, the development in 1996 of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART; cocktails of powerful antiretroviral drugs) means that, at least for people living in developed countries, HIV/AIDS is now a chronic, treatable condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
The number of CD4 cells in the blood is a strong predictor of the likelihood of AIDS or death in untreated HIV-positive individuals and in people starting cART. Current guidelines recommend, therefore, that cART is started in HIV-positive patients without symptoms when their CD4 cell count drops below a specified cutoff level (typically 350 cells/µl.) In addition, several guidelines suggest that clinicians should also consider cART in symptom-free HIV-positive patients with a CD4 cell count above the cutoff level if their CD4 cell count has rapidly declined. However, it is not actually known whether the rate of CD4 cell decline (so-called “CD4 slope”) before initiating cART is related to a patient's outcome, so should clinicians consider this measurement when deciding whether to initiate cART? In this study, the researchers use data from CASCADE (Concerted Action on SeroConversion to AIDS and Death in Europe), a large collaborative study of 23 groups of HIV-positive individuals whose approximate date of HIV infection is known, to answer this question.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers undertook survival analyses of patients in the CASCADE collaboration for whom at least two CD4 cell counts had been recorded before starting cART. They calculated a pre-cART CD4 cell count slope from these counts and used statistical methods to investigate whether there was an association between the rate of decline in CD4 cell count and the time from initiating cART to the primary outcome—a first new AIDS-defining event or death. 2820 HIV-positive patients initiating cART were included in the study; the average pre-cART CD4 cell decline among them was 61 cells/µl/year. 255 of the patients experienced a new AIDS-related event or died after starting cART but the researchers found no evidence for an association between the primary outcome and the pre-cART CD4 slope or between survival and this slope. In addition, the rate of CD4 cell count decline was not significantly associated with progression to AIDS or death among 1731 HIV-positive, symptom-free patients with CD4 cell counts above 350 cells/µl who were studied before cART was developed.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that knowledge of the rate of CD4 cell count decline will not improve the prediction of clinical outcome in HIV-positive patients with a CD4 cell count above 350 cells/µl. Indeed, the findings show that the rate of CD4 cell decline in individual patients is highly variable over time. Consequently, a rate measured at one time cannot be used to reliably predict a patient's future CD4 cell count. Because this was an observational study, patients with the greatest rate of decline in their CD4 cell count might have received better care than other patients, a possibility that would lessen the effect of the rate of CD4 cell count decline on outcomes. Nevertheless, the findings of this study strongly suggest that knowledge of the current CD4 cell count and an assessment of other established risk factors for progression to AIDS are sufficient when deciding whether to initiate cART in symptom-free HIV-positive patients.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000239.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on treatments and treatment guidelines
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on treatments for HIV and AIDS, when to start treatment, and the stages of HIV infection (in English and Spanish)
Information on CASCADE is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000239
PMCID: PMC2826377  PMID: 20186270
25.  Depot-specific differences in perilipin and hormone-sensitive lipase expression in lean and obese 
Background
Mainly dependent on hormone-sensitive lipase, lipolysis is differently impaired between fat depots in human obesity. Perilipin A expression is a critical element in adipocyte lipolysis. The present study aimed at comparing expression and subcellular distribution of perilipin and hormone-sensitive lipase in two abdominal adipose tissues of lean and obese women. We examined whether regional differences in perilipin expression contribute to impaired lipolytic rates.
Methods
Abdominal subcutaneous and omental adipose tissues were obtained from six lean and ten obese women. We measured total protein content and relative distribution of hormone-sensitive lipase and perilipin proteins between lipid and non-lipid fractions in tissue homogenates. Hormone-sensitive lipase and perilipin mRNA levels, adipocyte size, basal (non-stimulated) and noradrenaline-stimulated lipolysis in isolated adipocytes were determined.
Results
Adipocytes were significantly larger in the obese versus the lean women and in subcutaneous versus omental fat. Expressed as a function of cell number, basal lipolysis and noradrenaline responsiveness were higher in subcutaneous versus omental adipocytes from the obese women (P < 0.05). Despite higher or identical mRNA levels in the lean and the obese subjects and in subcutaneous and omental tissues, perilipin protein expression was lower in both depots in the obese versus the lean women, and in subcutaneous versus omental in both lean and obese women (P < 0.05). Perilipin was mostly (above 80%) present in the lipid fraction in both depots from the obese patients and the value decreased to 60% in the lean subjects (P < 0.05). Perilipin protein expression was inversely correlated to adipocyte size and basal lipolysis in both depots. Despite higher mRNA levels, hormone-sensitive lipase protein expression decreased in both depots of the obese women. Regional difference for hormone-sensitive lipase was reported in lipid fraction of subcutaneous fat of the obese subjects: hormone-sensitive lipase content was twice as low as in omental adipose tissue.
Conclusion
In both fat depots, a reduced perilipin protein expression was observed in women obesity. Perilipin protein level may contribute to differences in basal lipolysis and in adipocyte size between fat depots and may regulate lipid accumulation in adipocytes. Differences in hormone-sensitive lipase subcellular distribution were reported between fat depots in the obese women.
doi:10.1186/1476-511X-8-58
PMCID: PMC2804660  PMID: 20017959

Results 1-25 (726950)