The association of fat distribution with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) elevations is not well-defined in HIV-infected individuals. Obesity is associated with hepatic steatosis, and ALT is a marker of steatosis in the general population.
Cross-sectional analysis of 1119 HIV-infected and 284 control subjects. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA testing determined HCV infection. Magnetic resonance imaging measured regional adipose tissue volume.
After adjustment for demographic and lifestyle factors, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was positively associated with ALT in HIV/HCV-coinfected subjects (+9.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.8 to 17.6), HIV-monoinfected subjects (+8.0%, 95% CI: 4.2 to 12.1), and controls (+5.9%, 95% CI: 2.0 to 10.1). In contrast, lower trunk subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) was negatively associated with ALT in HIV/HCV-coinfected subjects (−14.3%, 95% CI: −24.7 to −4.2) and HIV-monoinfected subjects (−11.9%, 95% CI: −18.4 to −5.3); there was a trend toward an association in controls (−7.1%, 95% CI: −22.7 to 5.9). Estimated associations between regional adipose tissue and AST were small and did not reach statistical significance.
More VAT and less lower trunk SAT are associated with elevated ALT, which likely reflects the presence of steatosis. There was little association with AST. HCV infection and having more VAT or less lower trunk SAT are independently associated with elevated ALT in HIV infection. Study regarding the association between VAT, trunk SAT, HCV, and progression of steatosis and fibrosis is needed in HIV-infected individuals.