Background: Heightened immune activation among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons may contribute to atherosclerosis. We assessed associations of serologic markers of monocyte activation, soluble CD163 (sCD163) and soluble CD14 (sCD14), and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (CCL2) with subclinical atherosclerosis among men with and those without HIV infection in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study.
Methods: We performed noncontrast computed tomography on 906 men (566 HIV-infected men and 340 HIV-uninfected men), 709 of whom also underwent coronary computed tomographic angiography. Associations between each biomarker and the prevalence of coronary plaque, the prevalence of stenosis of ≥50%, and the extent of plaque were assessed by logistic and linear regression, adjusting for age, race, HIV serostatus, and cardiovascular risk factors.
Results: Levels of all biomarkers were higher among HIV-infected men, of whom 81% had undetectable HIV RNA, and were associated with lower CD4(+) T-cell counts. In the entire population and among HIV-infected men, higher biomarker levels were associated with a greater prevalence of coronary artery stenosis of ≥50%. Higher sCD163 levels were also associated with greater prevalences of coronary artery calcium, mixed plaque, and calcified plaque; higher CCL2 levels were associated with a greater extent of noncalcified plaque.
Conclusions: sCD163, sCD14, and CCL2 levels were elevated in treated HIV-infected men and associated with atherosclerosis. Monocyte activation may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease in individuals with HIV infection.
Keywords: atherosclerosis; human immunodeficiency virus; inflammation; monocyte activation; plaque.
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