Acylcarnitine Profiles in HIV-Exposed, Uninfected Neonates in the United States

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2016 Apr;32(4):339-48. doi: 10.1089/AID.2015.0112. Epub 2016 Jan 19.


We sought to determine the prevalence of abnormal acylcarnitine profiles (ACP) in HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) newborns and to explore the association of abnormal ACP with clinical laboratory outcomes and antiretroviral drug exposures. Clinically, ACP are used to assess for fatty acid oxidation (FAO) dysfunction and normal FAO is necessary for optimal fetal/neonatal growth and development. We analyzed serum ACP in 522 HEU neonates enrolled in the Surveillance Monitoring for ART Toxicities (SMARTT) study of the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS) and evaluated the associations of abnormal ACP with in utero exposure to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in logistic regression models, adjusting for maternal demographic, disease, and behavioral characteristics. We evaluated the associations of abnormal ACP with laboratory parameters and measures of neurodevelopment and growth. Of 522 neonates, 89 (17%) had abnormal ACP. In adjusted analyses, in utero exposure to a protease inhibitor (PI) was associated with higher odds of having an abnormal ACP [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.35, 95% CI: 0.96, 5.76, p = 0.06] with marginal significance while exposure to a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) was associated with lower odds (aOR = 0.23, 95% CI: 0.07, 0.80, p = 0.02). Mean ALT levels were slightly higher in those with abnormal ACP, but no differences in lactate, glucose, or CPK were observed. ACP status was not associated with neurodevelopment at 1 year or growth at 2 and 3 years of age. Abnormal ACP in HEU neonates are associated with exposure to PI-containing as opposed to NNRTI-containing antiretroviral (ARV) regimens but are not associated with serious postnatal clinical problems. Further studies are needed to determine the long-term health implications of abnormal acylcarnitine metabolism at birth in HEU children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects*
  • Carnitine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Carnitine / blood
  • Child Development / drug effects
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • acylcarnitine
  • Carnitine