Despite long term antiretroviral therapy (ART), insulin resistance (IR) is common among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) exposing this population to a greater risk of cardiometabolic complications when compared to their uninfected counterparts. We previously identified an expansion in monocyte subpopulations in blood that were linked to the degree of IR in persons with HIV on stable ART. In this study, we directly assessed monocyte inflammatory functional properties from PLWHA on ART (n = 33) and HIV-uninfected controls (n = 14) of similar age, gender, and cardiovascular disease risk and determined the relationship with IR (homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR)), calculated from fasting blood glucose and insulin measurements. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were stimulated with oxidized low-density lipoproteins (oxLDL) and polyfunctional monocyte cytokine responses (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, or TNF-α) were determined by flow cytometry. Higher monocyte IL-1β and IL-8 responses to oxLDL were associated with higher IR in PLWHA but not in the control group. We observed that higher basal monocyte cytokine responses were associated with both duration since HIV diagnosis and ART initiation. In the management of IR in chronic HIV, strategies lowering monocyte IL-1β and IL-8 responses should be considered in addition to ART in order to limit adverse cardio-metabolic outcomes.
Keywords: HIV; inflammation; insulin resistance; monocytes.