Background: Low bone mineral density (BMD) is commonly observed in people living with HIV (PLWH), however the cause for this BMD loss remains unclear. Sclerostin, a bone-derived antagonist to the Wnt/β-catenin-pathway, suppresses bone remodeling and is positively associated with BMD. The goal of the current study was to investigate associations between sclerostin and BMD in a cohort of HIV-seropositive and demographically-matched seronegative women.
Methods: This cross-sectional analysis used a subset of early postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). BMD was assessed at the lumbar spine, total hip, femoral neck, and distal and ultradistal radius via dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Circulating sclerostin was assessed via commercial ELISAs. Univariate and multivariate linear regression modeling tested associations between sclerostin and BMD after adjusting for a variety of BMD-modifying variables.
Results: HIV-seropositive women had significantly reduced BMD at all skeletal sites compared to HIV-seronegative women. There was no difference in sclerostin levels according to HIV-serostatus (0.25 vs 0.27 ng/mL in HIV-seronegative and HIV-seropositive, respectively, p = 0.71). Circulating sclerostin was positively associated with BMD at all sites in both univariate and multivariate models adjusting for HIV status, age, BMI, and race, although the coefficients of association were attenuated in HIV-seropositive women. The positive association between sclerostin and BMD among seropositive women remained statistically significant after adjusting for ART or tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) use.
Conclusions: The current study suggests that circulating sclerostin is a biomarker for bone mass for both HIV seronegative and seropositive women using and not using ART. The lower coefficients of association between sclerostin and BMD by HIV status may suggest HIV-induced alternation in osteocyte function.
Keywords: Antiretroviral therapy; Bone; Bone mineral density; HIV; Sclerostin; Tenofovir.
© 2020 The Authors.