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1.  Fat Distribution in Women With HIV Infection 
Both peripheral fat loss and central fat gain have been reported in women with HIV infection. We determined the fat changes that are specific to HIV infection in women.
HIV-infected and control women from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) were compared. Lipoatrophy or lipohypertrophy was defined as concordance between participant report of fat change and clinical examination. Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging measured regional adipose tissue volumes. The relationship among different adipose tissue depots was assessed. Factors associated with individual depots were analyzed using multivariate linear regression.
HIV-infected women reported more fat loss than controls in all peripheral and most central depots. Peripheral lipoatrophy was more frequent in HIV-infected women than controls (28% vs. 4%, P < 0.001), whereas central lipohypertrophy was similar (62% vs. 63%). Among HIV-infected women, those with central lipohypertrophy were less likely to have peripheral lipoatrophy (odds ratio, 0.39; 95% confidence interval, 0.20 to 0.75, P = 0.006) than those without central lipohypertrophy. On magnetic resonance imaging, HIV-infected women with clinical peripheral lipoatrophy had less subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in peripheral and central sites and less visceral adipose tissue (VAT) than HIV-infected women without peripheral lipoatrophy. Compared with controls, HIV-infected women had less SAT in the legs, regardless of the presence or absence of lipoatrophy. However, those without lipoatrophy had more VAT and upper trunk SAT than controls. Use of the antiretroviral drug stavudine was associated with less leg SAT but was not associated with VAT. The use of highly active antiretroviral therapy, however, was associated with more VAT.
Peripheral lipoatrophy occurs commonly in HIV-infected women but is not associated with reciprocally increased VAT or trunk fat.
PMCID: PMC3166343  PMID: 16837863
HIV; lipodystrophy; lipoatrophy; lipohypertrophy; visceral obesity; fat redistribution; body composition
2.  Association of Upper Trunk and Visceral Adipose Tissue Volume With Insulin Resistance in Control and HIV-Infected Subjects in the FRAM Study 
Visceral obesity is associated with insulin resistance, but the association of other regional adipose depots with insulin resistance is not understood. In HIV infection, buffalo hump (upper trunk fat) is associated, but the association of upper trunk fat with insulin resistance has not been examined in controls. To determine the independent association of adipose depots other than visceral with insulin resistance, we performed a cross-sectional analysis of controls and HIV-infected subjects in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) study, who had measurements of glucose, insulin, and adipose tissue volumes by whole-body magnetic resonance imaging. We studied 926 HIV-positive persons from 16 academic medical center clinics and trials units with demographic characteristics representative of US patients with HIV infection and 258 FRAM controls from the population-based Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. We measured visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume in the legs, arms, lower trunk (back and abdomen), and upper trunk (back and chest) and assessed their association with the homeostasis model of assessment (HOMA) and HOMA >4 by stepwise multivariable analysis. The prevalence of HOMA >4 as a marker of insulin resistance was 28% among controls compared with 37% among HIV-infected subjects (P = 0.005). Among controls, those in the highest tertile of upper trunk SAT volume had an odds ratio (OR) of 9.0 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.4 to 34; P = 0.001) for having HOMA >4 compared with the lowest tertile, whereas in HIV-positive subjects, the OR was lower (OR = 2.09, 95% CI: 1.36 to 3.19; P = 0.001). Among controls, the highest tertile of VAT volume had an OR of 12.1 (95% CI: 3.2 to 46; P = 0.0002) of having HOMA >4 compared with the lowest tertile, whereas in HIV-positive subjects, the OR was 3.12 (95% CI: 2.0 to 4.8; P < 0.0001). After adjusting for VAT and upper trunk SAT, the association of other SAT depots with HOMA >4 did not reach statistical significance. Thus, VAT and upper trunk SAT are independently associated with insulin resistance in controls and in HIV-infected persons.
PMCID: PMC3164883  PMID: 18167644
buffalo hump; fat distribution; insulin resistance; lipodystrophy; visceral obesity
3.  Intermuscular Adipose Tissue and Metabolic Associations in HIV Infection 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2010;19(2):283-291.
Intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) is associated with metabolic abnormalities similar to those associated with visceral adipose tissue (VAT). Increased IMAT has been found in obese human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women. We hypothesized that IMAT, like VAT, would be similar or increased in HIV-infected persons compared with healthy controls, despite decreases in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) found in HIV infection. In the second FRAM (Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection) exam, we studied 425 HIV-infected subjects and 211 controls (from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study) who had regional AT and skeletal muscle (SM) measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Multivariable linear regression identified factors associated with IMAT and its association with metabolites. Total IMAT was 51% lower in HIV-infected participants compared with controls (P = 0.003). The HIV effect was attenuated after multivariable adjustment (to −28%, P < 0.0001 in men and −3.6%, P = 0.70 in women). Higher quantities of leg SAT, upper-trunk SAT, and VAT were associated with higher IMAT in HIV-infected participants, with weaker associations in controls. Stavudine use was associated with lower IMAT and SAT, but showed little relationship with VAT. In multivariable analyses, regional IMAT was associated with insulin resistance and triglycerides (TGs). Contrary to expectation, IMAT is not increased in HIV infection; after controlling for demographics, lifestyle, VAT, SAT, and SM, HIV+ men have lower IMAT compared with controls, whereas values for women are similar. Stavudine exposure is associated with both decreased IMAT and SAT, suggesting that IMAT shares cellular origins with SAT.
PMCID: PMC3731045  PMID: 20539305
4.  The Associations of Regional Adipose Tissue with Lipid and Lipoprotein Levels in HIV-infected Men 
HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy are associated with dyslipidemia, but the association between regional adipose tissue depots and lipid levels is not defined.
The association of MRI-measured visceral (VAT) and regional subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume with fasting lipid parameters was analyzed by multivariable linear regression in 737 HIV-infected and 145 control men from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM).
HIV-infected men had higher median triglycerides (TG) (170mg/dl vs. 107mg/dl, p<0.0001), lower high density lipoprotein (HDL-C) (38mg/dl vs. 46mg/dl, p<0.0001) and lower low density lipoprotein (LDL-C) (105mg/dl vs. 125mg/dl, p<0.0001) than controls. After adjustment, greater VAT was associated with higher TG and lower HDL-C in both HIV-infected and control men, while greater leg SAT was associated with lower TG in HIV-infected men with a similar trend in controls. More upper trunk SAT was associated with higher LDL-C and lower HDL-C in controls, while more lower trunk SAT was associated with higher TG in controls. After adjustment, HIV infection remained strongly associated (p<0.0001) with higher TG (+76%, CI: 53, 103), lower LDL-C (−19%, CI: −25,−12), and lower HDL-C (−18%, CI: −22,−12).
HIV-infected men are more likely than controls to have higher TG and lower HDL-C, which promote atherosclerosis, but also lower LDL-C. Less leg SAT and more VAT are important factors associated with high TG and low HDL-C in HIV-infected men. The reduced leg SAT in HIV-infected men with lipoatrophy places them at increased risk for pro-atherogenic dyslipidemia.
PMCID: PMC3156607  PMID: 18360291
5.  Fat Distribution in Men With HIV Infection 
Both peripheral fat loss and central fat gain have been reported in HIV infection. Which changes are specific to HIV were determined by comparison with control subjects and the associations among different adipose tissue depots were determined.
Cross-sectional analysis of HIV-positive and control men from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection. Lipoatrophy or lipohypertrophy was defined as concordance between participant report of change and examination. Regional adipose tissue volume was measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
HIV-positive men reported more fat loss than controls in all peripheral and most central depots. Peripheral lipoatrophy was more frequent in HIV-positive men than in controls (38.3% vs. 4.6%, P < 0.001), whereas central lipohypertrophy was less frequent (40.2% vs. 55.9%, P = 0.001). Among HIV-positive men, the presence of central lipohypertrophy was not positively associated with peripheral lipoatrophy (odds ratio = 0.71, CI: 0.47 to 1.06, P = 0.10). On MRI, HIV-positive men with clinical peripheral lipoatrophy had less subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in peripheral and central sites and less visceral adipose tissue (VAT) than HIV-positive men without peripheral lipoatrophy. HIV-positive men both with and without lipoatrophy had less SAT than controls, with legs and lower trunk more affected than upper trunk. Use of the antiretroviral drugs stavudine or indinavir was associated with less leg SAT but did not appear to be associated with more VAT; nevirapine use was associated with less VAT.
Both peripheral and central subcutaneous lipoatrophy was found in HIV infection. Lipoatrophy in HIV-positive men is not associated with reciprocally increased VAT.
PMCID: PMC3166344  PMID: 16186728
HIV infection; lipodystrophy; lipoatrophy; lipohypertrophy; visceral obesity; fat redistribution; body composition
6.  Regional fat deposition and cardiovascular risk in HIV infection: The FRAM study 
AIDS care  2011;23(8):929-938.
HIV-infected individuals are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and lipodystrophy, but the relationship between regional adipose tissue (AT) depots and CVD risk is not well-described. We determined regional AT volumes and CVD risk in an analysis of 586 HIV-infected and 280 control FRAM study subjects using whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the Framingham Risk Score (FRS). Median FRS and FRS >10% were higher in HIV than control men (4.7% vs. 3.7%, p=0.0002; 16% vs. 4%, p<0.0001). HIV and control women had similarly-low FRS (1.1% vs. 1.2%, p=0.91). In controls, total AT and all regional AT depots showed strong positive correlations with FRS (p<0.001) in men, and weaker positive correlations in women. Greater visceral AT (VAT) and lower leg subcutaneous AT (SAT) volumes were associated with elevated FRS in HIV subjects, with a trend for upper trunk SAT. Controls in the lowest quartile of leg SAT had the lowest FRS (1.5%), whereas HIV with similarly-low leg SAT had the highest FRS (4.0%, p<0.001 vs. controls). Increased VAT is associated with CVD risk, but the risk is higher in HIV-infected individuals relative to controls at every level of VAT. Peripheral lipoatrophy (as measured by leg SAT) is associated with striking increased CVD risk in HIV-infected patients, even after controlling for VAT, whereas low leg SAT is associated with low CVD risk in controls.
PMCID: PMC3249238  PMID: 21767228
HIV; fat redistribution; lipoatrophy; visceral fat; cardiovascular risk
7.  Comparison of DXA and MRI-measured adipose tissue depots in HIV-infected and control subjects 
Studies in persons without HIV infection have compared dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measured adipose tissue (AT), but no such study has been conducted in HIV+ subjects, who have a high prevalence of regional fat loss.
We compared DXA with MRI-measured trunk, leg, arm, and total fat in HIV+ and control subjects.
Cross-sectional analysis in 877 HIV+ and 260 controls in FRAM (Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection), stratified by sex and HIV status.
Univariate associations of DXA with MRI were strongest for total and trunk fat (r≥0.92), and slightly weaker in leg (r≥0.87) and arm (r≥0.71). Estimated limb fat averaged substantially higher for DXA than MRI for HIV+ and control, men and women (all p<0.0001). Trunk showed much less difference between DXA and MRI, but was still statistically significant (p<0.0001). Bland-Altman plots showed increasing differences and variability; higher average limb fat in controls and HIV+ (both p<0.0001) was associated with greater DXA vs. MRI difference. As controls have more limb fat than HIV+, the bias leads to even higher fat measured by DXA than by MRI when controls are compared to HIV+; more HIV+ subjects had leg fat in the bottom decile of controls by DXA than by MRI (p<0.0001).
Although DXA and MRI-measured AT depots correlate strongly in HIV+ subjects and controls, differences increase as average fat increases, particularly for limb fat. DXA may estimate a higher peripheral lipoatrophy prevalence than MRI in HIV+ subjects.
PMCID: PMC3156610  PMID: 18842798
DXA; MRI; adipose tissue depots; lipoatrophy; HIV infection
8.  Association Between Hepatitis C Virus Coinfection and Regional Adipose Tissue Volume in HIV-Infected Men and Women 
Coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is reported to be associated with a higher prevalence of lipodystrophy than HIV infection alone. We examine the association between HCV and adipose tissue volume in HIV-infected men and women.
Cross-sectional analysis of HIV-infected subjects from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection. MRI measured regional adipose tissue volume. Detectable HCV RNA defined HCV infection.
Twenty percent of 792 men and 26% of 329 women were HIV/HCV-coinfected. HIV/HCV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected women had similar amounts of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in the leg, lower trunk, upper trunk, and arm and similar amounts of visceral adipose tissue (VAT). Similar findings were seen in men, except in the leg and VAT. After adjustment, HCV infection remained associated with more leg fat in men (12.2%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.3 to 25.3; P = 0.043). Among those on stavudine, HIV-monoinfected men had less leg fat (−7% effect per year of stavudine use, 95% CI: −9 to −5; P < 0.001); a weaker association was seen in HIV/HCV-coinfected men (−2% effect, 95% CI: −7 to 3; P = 0.45). Indinavir was associated with less leg fat (−4% in HIV-monoinfected men, 95% CI: −6 to −1; P = 0.002; −5% in HIV/HCV-coinfected men, 95% CI: −11 to 2; P = 0.14).
Our findings suggest that HIV/HCV coinfection is not associated with less SAT in men and women. HCV infection seems to mitigate the loss of leg fat seen in HIV-infected men on stavudine.
PMCID: PMC3164885  PMID: 17356466
adipose tissue volume; fat distribution; hepatitis C virus; HIV; lipodystrophy
9.  Genes Linked to Energy Metabolism and Immunoregulatory Mechanisms are Associated with Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Distribution in HIV-infected Men 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2011;21(12):798-807.
Genetic studies may help explain abnormalities of fat distribution in HIV-infected patients treated with antiretroviral therapy (ARV).
Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in leg, lower trunk, upper trunk, and arm was examined in 192 HIV-infected Caucasian men, ARV-treated from the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection (FRAM) study. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assayed using the Illumina HumanCNV370-quad beadchip. Multivariate and univariate genome wide association analyses of the four SAT depots were implemented in PLINK software adjusted for age and ARV duration. Functional annotation analysis (FAA) using Ingenuity Systems Pathway Analysis tool (IPA) was carried out for markers with P<10-3 near known genes identified by multivariate analysis.
Loci (rs10504906, rs13267998, rs921231) in or near the anion exchanger solute carrier family 26, member 7 isoform a (SLC26A7) were strongly associated with upper trunk and arm SAT (9.8*10-7≤P<7.8*10-6). Loci (rs193139, rs7523050, rs1761621) in and near a gene rich region including G-protein-signaling modulator 2 (GPSM2) and syntaxin binding protein 3 (STXBP3) were significantly associated with lower body SAT depots (9.9*10-7≤P<9.5*10-6). GPSM2 is associated with cell division and cancer while STXBP3 is associated with glucose metabolism in adipoctyes. IPA identified atherosclerosis, mitochondrial function and T-Cell mediated apoptosis as processes related to SAT volume in HIV-infected individuals (P<5*10-3).
Our results are limited by the small sample size and replication is needed, however this genomic scan uncovered new genes associated with metabolism and inflammatory pathways that may affect SAT volume in ARV-treated HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3210910  PMID: 21897333
HIV; HAART; GWAS; Subcutaneous Fat; SAT
10.  Adipokines, hormones related to body composition, and insulin resistance in HIV fat redistribution syndrome 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:347.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC4079215  PMID: 24958357
Lipodystrophy; HIV; Adipokines; Body composition; Insulin resistance
11.  Depot-specific regulation of glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity in HIV-lipodystrophy 
Altered fat distribution is associated with insulin resistance in HIV, but little is known about regional glucose metabolism in fat and muscle depots in this patient population. The aim of the present study was to quantify regional fat, muscle, and whole body glucose disposal in HIV-infected men with lipoatrophy. Whole body glucose disposal was determined by hyperinsulinemic clamp technique (80 mU·m−2·min−1) in 6 HIV-infected men and 5 age/weight-matched healthy volunteers. Regional glucose uptake in muscle and subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was quantified in fasting and insulin-stimulated states using 2-deoxy-[18F]fluoro-d-glucose positron emission tomography. HIV-infected subjects with lipoatrophy had significantly increased glucose uptake into SAT (3.8 ± 0.4 vs. 2.3 ± 0.5 μmol·kg tissue−1·min−1, P < 0.05) in the fasted state. Glucose uptake into VAT did not differ between groups. VAT area was inversely related with whole body glucose disposal, insulin sensitivity, and muscle glucose uptake during insulin stimulation. VAT area was highly predictive of whole body glucose disposal (r2 = 0.94, P < 0.0001). This may be mediated by adiponectin, which was significantly associated with VAT area (r =−0.75, P = 0.008), and whole body glucose disposal (r = 0.80, P = 0.003). This is the first study to directly demonstrate increased glucose uptake in subcutaneous fat of lipoatrophic patients, which may partially compensate for loss of SAT. Furthermore, we demonstrate a clear relationship between VAT and glucose metabolism in multiple fat and muscle depots, suggesting the critical importance of this depot in the regulation of glucose and highlighting the significant potential role of adiponectin in this process.
PMCID: PMC3197775  PMID: 16131513
positron emission tomography; adipose tissue; insulin resistance; human immunodeficiency virus-lipodystrophy
12.  Whole body proteolysis rate is elevated in HIV-associated insulin resistance 
Diabetes  2006;55(10):2849-2855.
Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is characterized by impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and insulin resistance with respect to glucose metabolism, but not amino acid metabolism. We examined whether whole body leucine and protein metabolism are dysregulated in HIV-infected people with IGT. Glucose and leucine kinetics were measured under fasting insulin conditions and during euglycemic-hyperinsulinemia using primed constant infusions of 2H2-glucose and 13C-leucine in 10 HIV-seronegative control subjects, 16 HIV+ with normal glucose tolerance, and 21 HIV+IGT. Glucose disposal rate during hyperinsulinemia was lower in HIV+IGT than the other two groups. Absolute plasma leucine levels and rate of appearance (whole body proteolysis) were higher in HIV+IGT at all insulin levels, but declined in response to hyperinsulinemia in parallel to those in the other two groups. HIV+IGT had greater visceral adiposity, fasting serum IL-8 and FFA levels, and higher lipid oxidation rates during the clamp than the other two groups. The findings implicate several factors in the insulin-signaling pathway that may be further dysregulated in HIV+IGT, and support the notion that insulin-signaling pathways for glucose and leucine metabolism may be disrupted by increased proinflammatory adipocytokines (IL-8) and increased lipid oxidation. Increased proteolysis may provide amino acids for gluconeogenesis; exacerbating hyperglycemia in HIV.
PMCID: PMC1764855  PMID: 17003352
muscle amino acid metabolism; insulin signaling; adipocytokine; lipotoxicity; substrate partitioning; mass spectrometry; stable isotope tracer methods; HIV=human immunodeficiency virus; AIDS=acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; HAART=highly active antiretroviral therapy; FFM=fat-free mass; T2DM=type 2 diabetes mellitus; BCAA=branched chain amino acids; Rd=rate of disposal; Ra=rate of appearance; IGT=impaired glucose tolerance; FFA=serum free fatty acids; VAT=visceral adipose tissue content; SAT=subcutaneous adipose tissue content; TAT=total adipose tissue content; HOMA=homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance; RIA=radioimmunoassay; NRTI= nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors; NNRTI= non-nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor; PI= protease inhibitor
13.  Regional Adipose Tissue and Lipid and Lipoprotein Levels in HIV-Infected Women 
HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy are associated with dyslipidemia, but the association between regional body fat and lipid levels is not well described.
Multivariable linear regression analyzed the association between magnetic resonance imaging–measured regional adipose tissue and fasting lipids in 284 HIV-infected and 129 control women.
Among African Americans, HIV-infected women had higher triglyceride (116 vs. 83 mg/dL; P < 0.001), similar high-density lipoprotein (HDL; 52 vs. 50 mg/dL; P = 0.60), and lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL; 99 vs. 118 mg/dL; P = 0.008) levels than controls. Among whites, HIV-infected women had higher triglyceride (141 vs. 78 mg/dL; P < 0.001), lower HDL (46 vs. 57 mg/dL; P < 0.001), and slightly lower LDL (100 vs. 107 mg/dL; P = 0.059) levels than controls. After adjustment for demographic and lifestyle factors, the highest tertile of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was associated with higher triglyceride (+85%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 55 to 121) and lower HDL (−9%, 95% CI: −18 to 0) levels in HIV-infected women; the highest tertile of leg subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) was associated with lower triglyceride levels in HIV-infected women (−28%, 95% CI: −41 to −11) and controls (−39%, 95% CI: −5 to −18). After further adjustment for adipose tissue, HIV infection remained associated with higher triglyceride (+40%, 95% CI: 21 to 63) and lower LDL (−17%, 95% CI: −26 to −8) levels, whereas HIV infection remained associated with lower HDL levels (−21%, 95% CI: −29 to −12) in whites but not in African Americans (+8%, 95% CI: −2 to 19).
HIV-infected white women are more likely to have proatherogenic lipid profiles than HIV-infected African American women. Less leg SAT and more VAT are important factors associated with adverse lipid levels. HIV-infected women may be at particular risk for dyslipidemia because of the risk for HIV-associated lipoatrophy.
PMCID: PMC2776070  PMID: 18197118
dyslipidemia; fat distribution; HIV infection; lipid levels; lipodystrophy; women
14.  Lipodystrophy defined by Fat Mass Ratio in HIV-infected patients is associated with a high prevalence of glucose disturbances and insulin resistance 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:180.
Combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) in the treatment of HIV-1 infection has been associated with complications, including lipodystrophy, hyperlipidaemia, insulin resistance (IR) and diabetes.
To compare the prevalence of glucose homeostasis disturbances and IR in HIV patients on cART according to the presence of lipodystrophy (defined clinically and by Fat Mass Ratio) and different patterns of fat distribution and to establish their associations.
Cross-sectional cohort study.
We evaluated body composition and IR and insulin sensitivity indexes in 345 HIV-infected adults.
Patients with clinical lipodystrophy (CL) had higher plasma glucose levels than patients without CL, without significant differences in plasma insulin levels, A1c, HOMA-IR, HOMA-B, QUICKI, or MATSUDA index. Patients with lipodystrophy defined by FMR had higher plasma glucose and insulin levels, A1c, HOMA-IR, QUICKI and MATSUDA than patients without lipodystrophy, without differences in HOMA-B. Higher insulin resistance (HOMA-IR ≥ 4) was present in patients with FMR-defined lipodystrophy. Patients with FMR-defined lipodystrophy had a higher prevalence of IFG, IGT and DM than patients without lipodystrophy. Significant associations between HOMA-IR and total, central and central/peripheral fat evaluated by CT at abdominal level were found and no association between HOMA-IR and peripheral fat. Association between HOMA-IR and total and trunk fat but no association with leg and arm fat (evaluated by DXA) was found.
IR and glucose disturbances were significantly increased in patients with FMR-defined lipodystrophy. FMR lipodystrophy definition seems to be a more sensitive determinant of insulin resistance and glucose disturbances than clinical definition.
PMCID: PMC3495654  PMID: 22866963
Lipodystrophy; Insulin resistance; HIV; Glucose homeostasis disturbances
15.  Relationship Between Neck Circumference and Cardiometabolic Parameters in HIV-Infected and non–HIV-Infected Adults 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(4):1026-1031.
Upper body fat is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk. More recently, neck circumference (NC) and/or neck fat have been associated with hyperlipidemia, impaired glucose homeostasis, and hypertension. The objective of this study was to determine whether this relationship is evident in HIV-infected individuals, who often exhibit changes in relative fat distribution, and to determine whether NC is independently associated with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in HIV and non–HIV-infected patients.
Body composition, including anthropometrics, visceral adipose tissue assessment by CT, and metabolic parameters, including lipids, cIMT, and oral glucose tolerance test, were measured in 174 men and women with HIV infection and 154 non–HIV-infected subjects. NC was measured in triplicate inferior to the laryngeal prominence.
In univariate analysis, NC was significantly and positively related to blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c, glucose, and insulin and significantly and negatively related to HDL cholesterol in HIV-infected individuals and HIV-negative control subjects. NC was significantly associated with cIMT in univariate regression analysis among HIV-infected (r = 0.21, P = 0.006) and non–HIV-infected (r = 0.31, P = 0.0001) patients. This relationship remained significant among non–HIV-infected patients (R2 = 0.45, P < 0.001) but not HIV-infected patients in multivariate modeling controlling for age, sex, race, smoking hypertension, glucose, and lipids.
Among both HIV and non–HIV-infected patients, increased NC is strongly associated with decreased HDL and impaired glucose homeostasis. Among non–HIV-infected subjects, NC also predicts increased cIMT when controlling for traditional risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3064017  PMID: 21378212
16.  Increased FDG uptake in Association with Reduced Extremity Fat in HIV Patients 
Antiviral therapy  2012;18(2):243-248.
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3670757  PMID: 23041595
HIV; lipodystrophy; FDG-PET/CT; insulin resistance
17.  Association of HIV Infection and HIV/HCV Coinfection With C-Reactive Protein Levels 
Inflammation is a potential mechanism to explain the accelerated atherosclerosis observed in HIV- and hepatitis C virus (HCV)–infected persons. We evaluated C-reactive protein (CRP) in HIV-infected and HIV/HCV-coinfected individuals in the era of effective antiretroviral (ARV) therapy.
Cross-sectional study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) cohort and controls from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.
CRP levels were measured in 1135 HIV-infected participants from the FRAM cohort and 281 controls from the CARDIA study. The associations of HIV and HIV/HCV infection with CRP levels were estimated by multivariable linear regression.
Compared with controls, HIV monoinfection was associated with an 88% higher CRP level in men (P < 0.0001) but with no difference in women (5%; P = 0.80) in multivariate analysis. CRP levels were not associated with ARV therapy, HIV RNA level, or CD4 cell count. Compared with controls, HIV/HCV coinfection was associated with a 41% lower CRP level in women (P = 0.012) but with no difference in men (+4%; P = 0.90). Among HIV-infected participants, HCV coinfection was associated with 50% lower CRP levels after multivariable analysis (P < 0.0001) in men and women. Greater visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were strongly associated with CRP levels. Among HIV- infected participants, CRP levels were 17% (P < 0.001) and 21% (P = 0.002) higher per doubling of VAT and SAT; among controls, CRP levels were 34% (P < 0.001) and 61% (P = 0.009) higher, respectively.
In the absence of HCV coinfection, HIV infection is associated with higher CRP levels in men. HCV coinfection is associated with lower CRP levels in men and women.
PMCID: PMC2561207  PMID: 18344877
cardiovascular disease; C-reactive protein; hepatitis C virus; HIV; inflammation
18.  A cross-sectional study of glucose regulation in young adults with very low birth weight: impact of male gender on hyperglycaemia 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000327.
To investigate glucose regulation in young adults with very low birth weight (VLBW; <1500 g) in an Asian population.
Cross-sectional observational study.
A general hospital in Hamamatsu, Japan.
111 young adults (42 men and 69 women; aged 19–30 years) born with VLBW between 1980 and 1990. Participants underwent standard 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The primary outcomes were glucose and insulin levels during OGTT and risk factors for a category of hyperglycaemia defined as follows: diabetes mellitus, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) and non-diabetes/IGT/IFG with elevated 1 h glucose levels (>8.6 mmol/l). The secondary outcomes were the pancreatic β cell function (insulinogenic index and homeostasis model of assessment for beta cell (HOMA-β)) and insulin resistance (homeostasis model of assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR)).
Of 111 young adults with VLBW, 21 subjects (19%) had hyperglycaemia: one had type 2 diabetes, six had IGT, one had IFG and 13 had non-diabetes/IGT/IFG with elevated 1 h glucose levels. In logistic regression analysis, male gender was an independent risk factor associated with hyperglycaemia (OR 3.34, 95% CI 1.08 to 10.3, p=0.036). Male subjects had significantly higher levels of glucose and lower levels of insulin during OGTT than female subjects (p<0.001 for glucose and p=0.005 for insulin by repeated measures analysis of variance). Pancreatic β cell function was lower in men (insulinogenic index: p=0.002; HOMA-β: p=0.001), although no gender difference was found in insulin resistance (HOMA-IR: p=0.477). In male subjects, logistic regression analysis showed that small for gestational age was an independent risk factor associated with hyperglycaemia (OR 33.3, 95% CI 1.67 to 662.6, p=0.022).
19% of individuals with VLBW already had hyperglycaemia in young adulthood, and male gender was a significant independent risk factor of hyperglycaemia. In male young adults with VLBW, small for gestational age was associated with hyperglycaemia.
Article summary
Article focus
Neonatal intensive care has improved the survival rate for very low birth weight infants (VLBW; birth weight <1500 g) in recent decades, and the first generation of VLBW infants have only recently reached young adulthood.
Only a few studies have shown that VLBW (or preterm) is associated with glucose intolerance in Caucasian young adults, while glucose regulation in Asian young adults with VLBW is still uncertain.
The present study investigated glucose regulation in young adults with VLBW in an Asian population and determined the factors associated with hyperglycaemia.
Key messages
Of 111 young adults with VLBW, 19% of individuals already had hyperglycaemia (type 2 diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) and non-diabetes/IGT/IFG with elevated 1 h glucose levels).
Male gender was a significant independent risk factor of hyperglycaemia in young adults with VLBW.
Small for gestational age was associated with hyperglycaemia particularly in male young adults with VLBW.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This is the first study assessing the glucose regulation in young adults with VLBW in an Asian population.
This study does not provide information on postnatal growth patterns, which have been shown to be associated with later hyperglycaemia in previous studies.
The study design with no control subjects makes it impossible to address the delayed impact of VLBW itself on glucose regulation.
PMCID: PMC3274711  PMID: 22307095
19.  Effects of Growth Hormone and Pioglitazone in Viscerally Obese Adults with Impaired Glucose Tolerance: A Factorial Clinical Trial 
PLoS Clinical Trials  2007;2(5):e21.
Recombinant human growth hormone (GH) and pioglitazone (PIO) in abdominally obese adults with impaired glucose tolerance were evaluated under the hypothesis that the combination attenuates GH-induced increases in glucose concentrations, reduces visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and improves insulin sensitivity over time.
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2 × 2 factorial design.
Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California, United States.
62 abdominally obese adults aged 40–75 with impaired glucose tolerance.
GH (8 μg/kg/d, or placebo) and pioglitazone (30 mg/d, or placebo) for 40 wk.
Outcome Measures:
Baseline and after 40 wk of treatment, VAT content was quantified by CT scan, glucose tolerance was assessed using a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test, and insulin sensitivity was measured using steady-state plasma glucose levels obtained during insulin suppression test.
Baseline: body mass index (BMI), plasma glucose, and visceral fat content were similar. 40 wk: visceral fat area declined 23.9 ± 7.4 cm2 in GH group, mean difference from placebo: −28.1 cm2 (95% CI −49.9 to −6.3 cm2; p = 0.02). Insulin resistance declined 52 ± 11.8 mg/dl with PIO, mean difference from placebo of −58.8 mg/dl (95% CI −99.7 to −18.0 mg/dl; p = 0.01). VAT and SSPG declined with GH and PIO combined, mean differences from placebo of −31.4 cm2 (95% CI −56.5 cm2 to −6.3 cm2; p = 0.02) and −55.3 mg/dl (95% CI −103.9 to −6.7 mg/dl; p = 0.02), respectively. Fasting plasma glucose increased transiently in GH group. No significant changes in BMI were observed.
Addition of PIO to GH attenuated the short-term diabetogenic effect of GH; the drug combination reduced VAT and insulin resistance over time. GH plus PIO may have added benefit on body composition and insulin sensitivity in the metabolic syndrome.
Editorial Commentary
Background: People who are overweight are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly if they have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). When an individual has IGT, their cells are not able to respond properly to insulin in the blood, which means that blood sugar levels can remain high, and fat cells do not take up fatty acids from blood at the rate they should. The term prediabetes is often used to refer to these linked characteristics. However, if such individuals are able to lose weight they can reduce their chances of becoming diabetic in the future. In particular, loss of a particular type of fat, the visceral fat (packed in around the internal organs, as opposed to fat immediately under the skin), is thought to be beneficial for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Some researchers have suggested that giving human growth hormone (GH) to people who are overweight might help reduce their levels of visceral fat. At the same time, drugs known as thiazolidinediones are currently used, in combination with other drugs, diet, and exercise, as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. The researchers carrying out this study wanted to find out whether combining treatment with human GH and a thiazolidinedione, pioglitazone (PIO), would reduce levels of visceral fat and improve glucose metabolism in overweight adults with IGT. The researchers specifically planned to compare the changes in these primary outcomes amongst people receiving both human GH and PIO for 40 weeks with the changes in individuals receiving placebo only; additional comparisons were also done for individuals receiving either drug alone, as compared to placebo.
What this trial shows: A total of 76 participants were randomized and received the treatment allocated to them, but only 62 participants were included in the final analyses due to losses to follow-up. The primary outcomes being compared at baseline and after 40 weeks of treatment were the change in visceral fat levels and change in individuals' sensitivity to insulin. Individuals receiving GH experienced a drop in visceral fat area over the 40 weeks of the trial, as compared to placebo, whilst PIO alone did not seem to have an effect on visceral fat area. Individuals receiving both GH and PIO, however, also showed a decrease in visceral fat area. When examining the effect on insulin resistance, GH alone did not seem to have an effect on the ability to respond to insulin. However, administration of PIO alone did bring about a decrease in insulin resistance levels, as compared to placebo, and individuals receiving both GH and PIO together also experienced a drop in insulin resistance. The trial was not designed to detect statistically significant differences in side effects between the groups studied, but some side effects, such as build-up of fluid in the limbs and joint stiffness, seemed to be more common in the groups receiving drug treatment than in the placebo group.
Strengths and limitations: Although the trial was small, enough participants were recruited to detect statistically significant changes in the primary outcomes. Strengths of the trial include the use of appropriate techniques to conceal the randomization sequence from investigators recruiting participants into the trial and blinding of both participants and investigators to the treatments that an individual would receive. However, one limitation includes the fact that the likelihood of developing diabetes was not directly measured as an outcome in this trial, and it is therefore not possible to conclude from these results that administration of GH, PIO, or both combined, will help prevent diabetes amongst overweight people with IGT. Finally, this trial compared the drug interventions directly with placebo and not with behavioral interventions such as diet and exercise, which are normally recommended for the prevention of diabetes amongst overweight people. It would be important to further investigate the efficacy, harms, and costs of these drugs directly against nondrug interventions before making any recommendations about their clinical use.
Contribution to the evidence: Other studies have shown that PIO administration has beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. This study adds evidence confirming that PIO is likely to have similar effects in people who are not diabetic but who are overweight and who have IGT. The study also adds data regarding the effect of PIO and GH combined in such populations; giving both drugs together seemed to have beneficial effects on visceral fat area and insulin sensitivity, as compared to placebo.
PMCID: PMC1865086  PMID: 17479164
20.  Recombinant Human Growth Hormone and Rosiglitazone for Abdominal Fat Accumulation in HIV-Infected Patients with Insulin Resistance: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Factorial Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61160.
Recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) reduces visceral adipose tissue (VAT) volume in HIV-infected patients but can worsen glucose homeostasis and lipoatrophy. We aimed to determine if adding rosiglitazone to rhGH would abrogate the adverse effects of rhGH on insulin sensitivity (SI) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial using a 2×2 factorial design in which HIV-infected subjects with abdominal obesity and insulin resistance were randomized to rhGH 3 mg daily, rosiglitazone 4 mg twice daily, combination rhGH + rosiglitazone, or double placebo (control) for 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was change in SI by frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test from entry to week 12. Body composition was assessed by whole body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and dual Xray absorptiometry (DEXA).
Seventy-seven subjects were randomized of whom 72 initiated study drugs. Change in SI from entry to week 12 differed across the 4 arms by 1-way ANCOVA (P = 0.02); by pair-wise comparisons, only rhGH (decreasing SI; P = 0.03) differed significantly from control. Changes from entry to week 12 in fasting glucose and glucose area under the curve on 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test differed across arms (1-way ANCOVA P = 0.004), increasing in the rhGH arm relative to control. VAT decreased significantly in the rhGH arms (−17.5% in rhGH/rosiglitazone and −22.7% in rhGH) but not in the rosiglitazone alone (−2.5%) or control arms (−1.9%). SAT did not change significantly in any arm. DEXA results were consistent with the MRI data. There was no significant rhGH x rosiglitazone interaction for any body composition parameter.
The addition of rosiglitazone abrogated the adverse effects of rhGH on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance while not significantly modifying the lowering effect of rhGH on VAT.
Trial Registration NCT00130286
PMCID: PMC3625151  PMID: 23593417
21.  Carotid intima media thickness is associated with body fat abnormalities in HIV-infected patients 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:348.
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC4087129  PMID: 24958511
Lipodystrophy; HIV; Carotid intima media thickness; Fat mass ratio; Body composition
22.  Bacterial Vaginosis Associated with Increased Risk of Female-to-Male HIV-1 Transmission: A Prospective Cohort Analysis among African Couples 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001251.
In a prospective study, Craig Cohen and colleagues investigate the association between bacterial vaginosis and the risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV), a disruption of the normal vaginal flora, has been associated with a 60% increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition in women and higher concentration of HIV-1 RNA in the genital tract of HIV-1–infected women. However, whether BV, which is present in up to half of African HIV-1–infected women, is associated with an increase in HIV-1 transmission to male partners has not been assessed in previous studies.
Methods and Findings
We assessed the association between BV on female-to-male HIV-1 transmission risk in a prospective study of 2,236 HIV-1–seropositive women and their HIV-1 uninfected male partners from seven African countries from a randomized placebo-controlled trial that enrolled heterosexual African adults who were seropositive for both HIV-1 and herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2, and their HIV-1–seronegative partners. Participants were followed for up to 24 months; every three months, vaginal swabs were obtained from female partners for Gram stain and male partners were tested for HIV-1. BV and normal vaginal flora were defined as a Nugent score of 7–10 and 0–3, respectively. To reduce misclassification, HIV-1 sequence analysis of viruses from seroconverters and their partners was performed to determine linkage of HIV-1 transmissions. Overall, 50 incident HIV-1 infections occurred in men in which the HIV-1–infected female partner had an evaluable vaginal Gram stain. HIV-1 incidence in men whose HIV-1–infected female partners had BV was 2.91 versus 0.76 per 100 person-years in men whose female partners had normal vaginal flora (hazard ratio 3.62, 95% CI 1.74–7.52). After controlling for sociodemographic factors, sexual behavior, male circumcision, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels in female partners, BV was associated with a greater than 3-fold increased risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission (adjusted hazard ratio 3.17, 95% CI 1.37–7.33).
This study identified an association between BV and increased risk of HIV-1 transmission to male partners. Several limitations may affect the generalizability of our results including: all participants underwent couples HIV counseling and testing and enrolled in an HIV-1 prevention trial, and index participants had a baseline CD4 count ≥250 cells/mm3 and were HSV-2 seropositive. Given the high prevalence of BV and the association of BV with increased risk of both female HIV-1 acquisition and transmission found in our study, if this association proves to be causal, BV could be responsible for a substantial proportion of new HIV-1 infections in Africa. Normalization of vaginal flora in HIV-1–infected women could mitigate female-to-male HIV-1 transmission.
Trial Registration: NCT00194519
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Since the first reported case of AIDS in 1981, the number of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has risen steadily. By the end of 2010, 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS. At the beginning of the epidemic more men than women were infected with HIV. Now, however, 50% of all adults infected with HIV are women and in sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of HIV-positive people live, women account for 59% of people living with HIV. Moreover, among 15–24 year-olds, women are eight times more likely than men to be HIV-positive. This pattern of infection has developed because most people in sub-Saharan Africa contract HIV through unprotected heterosexual sex. The risk of HIV transmission for both men and women in Africa and elsewhere can be reduced by abstaining from sex, by only having one or a few partners, by always using condoms, and by male circumcision. In addition, several studies suggest that antiretroviral therapy (ART) greatly reduces HIV transmission.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, in sub-Saharan Africa, only about a fifth of HIV-positive people are currently receiving ART, which means that there is an urgent need to find other effective ways to reduce HIV transmission in this region. In this prospective cohort study (a type of study that follows a group of people for some time to see which personal characteristics are associated with disease development), the researchers investigate whether bacterial vaginosis—a condition in which harmful bacteria disrupt the normal vaginal flora—increases the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission among African couples. Bacterial vaginosis, which is extremely common in sub-Saharan Africa, has been associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition in women and induces viral replication and shedding in the vagina in HIV-positive women, which may mean that HIV-positive women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to transmit HIV to their male partners than women without this condition. If this is the case, then interventions that reduce the incidence of bacterial vaginosis might be valuable HIV prevention strategies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data collected from 2,236 heterosexual African couples enrolled in a clinical trial (the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study) whose primary aim was to investigate whether suppression of herpes simplex virus infection could prevent HIV transmission. In all the couples, the woman was HIV-positive and the man was initially HIV-negative. The female partners were examined every three months for the presence of bacterial vaginosis and the male partners were tested regularly for HIV infection. The researchers also determined whether the men who became HIV-positive were infected with the same HIV strain as their partner to check that their infection had been acquired from this partner. The HIV incidence in men whose partners had bacterial vaginosis was 2.9 per 100 person-years (that is, 2.9 out of every 100 men became HIV-positive per year) whereas the HIV incidence in men whose partners had a normal vaginal flora was 0.76 per 100 person-years. After controlling for factors that might affect the risk of HIV transmission such as male circumcision and viral levels in female partner's blood, the researchers estimated that bacterial vaginosis was associated with a 3.17-fold increased risk of female-to-male HIV transmission in their study population.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that HIV-positive African women with bacterial vaginosis are more than three times as likely to transmit HIV to their male partners as those with a normal vaginal flora. It is possible that some unknown characteristic of the men in this study might have increased both their own risk of HIV infection and their partner's risk of bacterial vaginosis. Nevertheless, because bacterial vaginosis is so common in Africa (half of the women in this study had bacterial vaginosis at least once during follow-up) and because this condition is associated with both female HIV acquisition and transmission, these findings suggest that bacterial vaginosis could be responsible for a substantial proportion of new HIV infections in Africa. Normalization of vaginal flora in HIV-infected women by frequent presumptive treatment with antimicrobials (treatment with a curative dose of antibiotics without testing for bacterial vaginosis) or possibly by treatment with probiotics (live “good” bacteria) might, therefore, reduce female-to-male HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS and on bacterial vaginosis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including specific information about HIV/AIDS and women; it also has information on bacterial vaginosis (in English and Spanish)
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on bacterial vaginosis and HIV transmission (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit group on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV and AIDS prevention, on women, HIV and AIDS and on HIV/AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish); personal stories of women living with HIV are available; the website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV
More information about the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study is available
PMCID: PMC3383741  PMID: 22745608
23.  Independent associations of insulin resistance with high whole-body intermuscular and low leg subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution in obese HIV-infected women123 
Obesity and insulin resistance are growing problems in HIV-positive (HIV+) women receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
The objective was to determine the contribution of adipose tissue (AT) enlargement and distribution to the presence of insulin resistance in obese HIV+ women.
Whole-body intermuscular AT (IMAT), visceral AT (VAT), subcutaneous AT (SAT), and SAT distribution (leg versus upper body) were measured by whole-body magnetic resonance imaging. Insulin sensitivity (SI) was measured with an intravenous glucose tolerance test in obese HIV+ women recruited because of their desire to lose weight (n = 17) and in obese healthy controls (n = 32).
The HIV+ women had relatively less whole-body SAT and more VAT and IMAT than did the controls (P < 0.05 for all). A significant interaction by HIV status was observed for the relation of total SAT with SI (P < 0.001 for the regression’s slope interactions after adjustment for age, height, and weight). However, relations of IMAT, VAT, and SAT distribution (leg SAT as a percentage of total SAT; leg SAT%) with SI did not differ significantly between groups. For both groups combined, the best model predicting a low SI included significant contributions by both high IMAT and low leg SAT%, independent of age, height, and weight, and no interaction between groups was observed (overall r2 = 0.44, P = 0.0003).
In obese HIV+ women, high whole-body IMAT and low leg SAT% distribution are independently associated with insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC2670485  PMID: 17616768
Subcutaneous adipose tissue; intermuscular adipose tissue; adipose tissue distribution; insulin resistance; HIV infection
24.  Cardiovascular Characteristics in Subjects With Increasing Levels of Abnormal Glucose Regulation 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(4):992-997.
To evaluate whether impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or the combination of IFG and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) is associated with progressive abnormalities of cardiac geometry and function.
We studied 562 nondiabetic (311 women), nonhypertensive participants of the second Strong Heart Study exam, without prevalent cardiovascular (CV) disease and with estimated glomerular filtration rate ≥60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (age 46–65 years, 198 with isolated IFG [35%], and 132 with combined IFG and IGT [23%]). Anthropometric parameters, insulin resistance, fibrinogen, C-reactive protein (CRP), lipid profile, blood pressure (BP), and echocardiographic parameters were compared with 232 participants with normal glucose tolerance (NGT).
BMI, prevalence of central obesity, homeostatic model assessment index of insulin resistance, plasma triglycerides, fibrinogen, and CRP increased progressively across categories of glucose intolerance (P < 0.0001), with the IFG+IGT group having higher values than those with isolated IFG (0.05 < P < 0.0001). Compared with NGT, both IFG and IFG+IGT exhibited greater left ventricular (LV) mass (P < 0.0001) and lower Doppler early peak rapid filling velocity to peak atrial filling velocity ratio (P < 0.005), without differences in LV systolic function. The odds of LV hypertrophy (LV mass index >46.7 in women or >49.2 g/m2.7 in men) was 3.5 in IFG participants (95% CI 0.68–17.76; P = NS) and 9.76 (2.03–46.79; P = 0.004) in IFG+IGT, compared with NGT, after adjustment for age, sex, heart rate, systolic BP, and waist circumference (WC). In the overall sample, LV mass index was associated with WC (P = 0.033), CRP (P = 0.027), and 2-h oral glucose tolerance test (P = 0.001) independently of confounders.
Cardiometabolic profile and markers of inflammation are more severely altered in men and women with both IFG and IGT compared with those with IFG alone. These individuals, in the absence of hypertension, have a 10-fold greater probability of preclinical CV disease (LV hypertrophy).
PMCID: PMC3609517  PMID: 23223343
25.  Longitudinal Assessment of Metabolic Abnormalities in Adolescents and Young Adults with HIV-infection Acquired Perinatally or in Early Childhood 
Metabolic complications of HIV pose challenges for health maintenance among young adults who acquired HIV in early childhood.
Between 7/2004–7/2009 we evaluated 47 HIV-infected subjects who acquired HIV in early life. Participants completed glucose tolerance testing, insulin, lipid, urine albumin and creatinine determinations and DXA scans. Longitudinal data were available for 39 subjects; duration of follow-up was 26.4±16.8 months.
At baseline, participants were 17.1±3.9y and duration of antiretroviral therapy was 12.7±3.4y. CD4 count was 658±374 cells/mm3 and 55% had undetectable viral load. Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) was present in 15%; 33% had insulin resistance (HOMA-IR>4.0). Further, 52% had triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL, 36% had HDL-c <40 mg/dl, 18% had LDL-c ≥130 mg/dL and 25% had total cholesterol ≥200 mg/dL. Microalbuminuria was present in 15% of participants and was inversely correlated with CD4% (p=0.001). During follow-up more than one third remained insulin resistant; lipid parameters tended to improve. There were significant increases in BMI (p=0.0002), percent leg fat (p=0.008) and trunk fat (p=0.002).
IGT, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and microalbuminuria are common among young adults with HIV. Long-term exposure to therapy may translate into substantial persistent metabolic risk.
PMCID: PMC3021796  PMID: 20947103
antiretroviral therapy; insulin resistance; dyslipidemia; microalbuminuria

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