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.