Skeletal muscle (SM) mass decreases with advanced age and with disease in HIV infection. It is unknown whether age-related muscle loss is accelerated in the current era of antiretroviral therapy and which factors might contribute to muscle loss among HIV-infected adults. We hypothesized that muscle mass would be lower and decline faster in HIV-infected adults than in similar-aged controls.
Whole-body 1H-magnetic resonance imaging was used to quantify regional and total SM in 399 HIV-infected and 204 control men and women at baseline and 5 years later. Multivariable regression identified associated factors.
At baseline and Year 5, total SM was lower in HIV-infected than control men. HIV-infected women were similar to control women at both time points. After adjusting for demographics, lifestyle factors, and total adipose tissue, HIV infection was associated with lower Year 5 SM in men and higher SM in women compared with controls. Average overall 5-year change in total SM was small and age related, but rate of change was similar in HIV-infected and control men and women. CD4 count and efavirenz use in HIV-infected participants were associated with increasing SM, whereas age and stavudine use were associated with decreasing SM.
Muscle mass was lower in HIV-infected men compared with controls, whereas HIV-infected women had slightly higher SM than control women after multivariable adjustment. We found evidence against substantially faster SM decline in HIV infected versus similar-aged controls. SM gain was associated with increasing CD4 count, whereas stavudine use may contribute to SM loss.