Several studies have reported that cytokines secreted by adipose tissue (adipokines) may be linked to HIV replication. The aim of the study was to evaluate the relationship between HIV replication and serum levels of adipokines, in a Caucasian HIV-infected population of men and women undergoing complex antiretroviral therapy.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in an unselected sample of 77 HIV-1-positive patients. Serum adipokines levels were measured including circulating adiponectin, leptin, resistin, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Patients were divided into two groups: Group 1 - with undetectable viral load and Group 2 - with persistent HIV viral replication. Differences between groups ? were tested using independent-sample t-test for Gaussian variables and Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test for non-parametric variables. Pearson's chi-squared test was used for correlation analysis.
A total of 77 patients (age range: 17-65, mean: 32.5 years) including 44 men (57.1% men, age range: 17-63 years, mean: 34.1 years) and 33 women (42.9% women age range: 19-65 years, mean: 30.3 years) were included in the study. TNF-alpha had significantly higher serum levels in patients with detectable viral load (16.89 vs. 9.35 pg/mL), (p=0.043), but correlation analysis lacked statistical significance. Adiponectin had median serum levels of 9.22 ìg/mL in Group 1 vs. 16.50 ìg/mL in Group 2 but the results lacked statistical significance (p=0.059). Higher leptin, IL-6 and resistin serum levels were noted in patients with undetectable HIV viral load, without statistical significance.
The present study reported higher TNF-alpha serum levels in patients with persistent HIV viral load. We found no statistically significant correlations between adiponectin, leptin, resistin and IL-6 and HIV viral load in our Caucasian HIV-positive study population, undergoing antiretroviral therapy.