Hyperphagia contributes to the normal body composition and protein-energy balance in HIV-infected asymptomatic men.J Nutr 2004; 134(9):2301-6JN
Wasting can occur at an early stage of HIV infection. Both reduced energy intake and increased resting energy expenditure (REE) have been considered as factors in wasting with predominant lean body mass loss, suggesting disturbances of protein metabolism. Our aim was to study protein-energy metabolism in relation to body composition and oral energy intake in asymptomatic patients with HIV infection but receiving no active antiretroviral therapy. Stable-weight asymptomatic male patients (n = 8) at stage A of HIV infection with a detectable viral load were compared with 9 healthy control men. Protein metabolism was studied in the postabsorptive state using a primed constant infusion of l-[1-(13)C]leucine and l-[2-(15)N]glutamine. REE was studied by indirect calorimetry, body composition by bioelectrical impedance, and energy intake by dietary records. BMI and lean body mass did not differ between patients and controls. In HIV-infected subjects, energy intake, protein breakdown, protein synthesis, and REE were 57% (P < 0.05), 18% (P < 0.05), 22% (P < 0.05) and 14% (P < 0.05) greater than in controls, respectively. REE and protein breakdown were correlated (r = 0.73, P < 0.05). The hormonal profile was normal in HIV-infected subjects with the exception of low urinary C-peptide and plasma reverse triiodothyronine. Plasma interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were greater than in controls, but energy intake was 1.53 times the REE in the HIV-infected men. Thus, at the asymptomatic stage of HIV infection, increased protein turnover contributes to the increase in the REE. Moderate hyperphagia, which occurred despite increased levels of cytokines, in conjunction with increased protein synthesis maintains a normal body composition, without significant loss of lean body mass.