Lean mass declines consistently over 10 years in people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy, with patterns differing by sex

Antivir Ther. 2019;24(5):383-387. doi: 10.3851/IMP3312.


Background: The long-term trajectory of and factors affecting lean mass in people living with HIV (PLWH) are incompletely described.

Methods: PLWH in the Modena HIV Metabolic Cohort underwent dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans every 6-12 months for up to 10 years (median 4.6 scans). Mixed effect regression modelling in combined and sex-stratified models determined annual rates of and clinical factors significantly associated with appendicular lean mass (ALM).

Results: A total of 839 women and 1,759 men contributing ≥2 DXA scans had baseline median age 44 years and 14 years since HIV diagnosis; 76% were virologically suppressed on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Baseline median ALM was 16.9 kg for women and 24.8 kg for men. ALM decreased during the study period, with mean yearly ALM loss of -231 g in women and -322 g in men. Less ALM was associated with female sex, age >50 years, detectable HIV-1 RNA, and tenofovir and integrase inhibitor use. Greater ALM was associated with longer ART duration. In sex-stratified models, relationships between ALM and total ART duration and integrase inhibitor use were not significant for women, but the relationship with tenofovir use persisted. For men, AIDS wasting and CD4+ T-lymphocyte nadir <200 cells/μl were independently associated with lower ALM.

Conclusions: ALM steadily declined over time in this cohort of PLWH on ART that included a large number of women. HIV- and ART-specific risk factors emerged that varied by sex. The observed associations between tenofovir or integrase inhibitor use and lower ALM particularly warrant further study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult