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Original article

Endothelial function is impaired in HIV-infected patients with lipodystrophy

Mar Masiá, Sergio Padilla, Natalia García, Inmaculada Jarrin, Enrique Bernal, Natividad López, Ildefonso Hernández, Félix Gutiérrez

Corresponding author name: Mar Masiá
Corresponding author e-mail: marmasia@ya.com

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2010; 15:101-110
doi: 10.3851/IMP1491

Date accepted: 14 September 2009
Date published online: 11 February 2010


Background: Data supporting a link between body-fat distribution changes and cardiovascular disease risk in HIV-infected patients are scarce and contradictory. We evaluated endothelial dysfunction, an early event in the development of atherosclerosis, and pro-atherosclerotic plasma biomarkers in HIV-infected patients with lipodystrophy.

Methods: HIV-infected patients with and without lipodystrophy were prospectively enrolled. Endothelial function was measured through flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery. Plasma levels of several biomarkers of inflammation, endothelial activation and coagulation associated with adipose tissue and endothelial dysfunction were determined.

Results: The study included 110 patients, 55 of them with lipodystrophy. FMD was significantly lower in patients with lipodystrophy than in those without lipodystrophy (median [IQR] 3.1% [0.4–8.9] versus 6.3% [3.3–10.7]; P=0.004). Patients with isolated lipoatrophy exhibited the lowest FMD (2.6% [0–6.6]; PKruskal–Wallis=0.02). Lipodystrophy was associated with significantly higher plasma levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6) and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) and lower levels of adiponectin; severe lipodystrophy was associated with higher concentrations of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (sVCAM-1). There was an inverse correlation between FMD and IL-6 (Spearman’s rho =-0.26; P=0.007). In a multivariate regression model with the lowest quartile of FMD as the dependent variable and lipodystrophy, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, 10-year Framingham risk score, pro-atherosclerotic biomarkers and HIV-related variables as predictors, the only independent predictor of endothelial dysfunction was lipodystrophy (odds ratio 5.22, 95% confidence interval 1.76–15.46; P=0.003).

Conclusions: Lipodystrophy is associated with endothelial dysfunction, independently of the presence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors. This finding and the accompanying profile of pro-atherosclerotic biomarkers support an increased cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected patients with lipodystrophy.


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