Objective: To identify metabolic and body composition changes associated with HIV-1 infection in a cross-sectional study of individuals stratified by immunologic status and body mass.
Design: Metabolic abnormalities including glucose intolerance and changes in body morphology have recently been described in HIV-1-infected individuals following therapy with protease inhibitor-containing highly active anti-retroviral therapy. Although this is suggestive of a direct drug effect, the possibility that HIV infection may induce a tendency towards such underlying derangements should be considered. HIV-infected patients are heterogeneous with respect to immunologic status and body mass. In examining the underlying effect of HIV-1 on metabolic and body composition parameters, stratification by various immunologic and body mass categories may give divergent results that would not be detected otherwise.
Methods: Thirty male participants were categorized into four cohorts: non-wasting HIV-seronegative controls, non-wasting HIV-infected patients with relatively intact immune function (CD4 cell count > 500 x 10(6)/l); non-wasting individuals with AIDS (CD4 cell count < 200 x 10(6)/l); and individuals with AIDS wasting.
Results: Increased fasting plasma insulin and waist-to-hip ratios were found specifically in non-wasting individuals with AIDS compared with HIV-negative controls.
Conclusions: Our study emphasises the importance of both body mass and immune function in studying metabolic and body composition abnormalities associated with HIV-1 infection. The association of increased waist-to-hip ratios and hyperinsulinemia suggestive of insulin resistance in non-wasting individuals with AIDS suggest that the tendency towards these metabolic abnormalities may be related to the HIV infectious process or to factors associated with immunologic dysfunction.