Is HIV-1 infection associated with endothelial dysfunction in a population of African ancestry in South Africa?
Conradie, Karin Ronel
Fourie, Catharina Maria Theresia
Schutte, Aletta Elisabeth
Van Rooyen, Johannes Marthinus
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The chronic infection status suffered by HIV-infected individuals promotes chronic arterial inflammation and injury, which leads to dysfunction of the endothelium, atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Although HIV-1 subtype C is prevalent in South Africa and accounts for almost a third of the infections worldwide, this subtype differs genetically from HIV-1 subtype B on which the majority of studies have been done. The objective of this study was to assess whether newly identified, never-treated, HIV-1-infected South African participants showed signs of endothelial dysfunction, accelerated atherosclerosis and increased blood coagulation. We compared 300 newly diagnosed (never antiretroviral-treated) HIV-infected participants to 300 age-, gender-, body mass index- and locality-matched uninfected controls. Levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides, interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), fibrinogen and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and carotid radialis pulse wave velocity (cr-PWV) were determined. The HIV-infected participants showed lower HDL-C and higher IL-6, CRP, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 levels compared to the uninfected controls. No differences in fibrinogen and PAI-1 levels were detected. A continuous positive trend of increasing age with cr-PWV was detected in the HIV-infected group. Our findings suggest inflammatory injury of the endothelium, pointing to endothelial dysfunction of never-treated HIV-1-infected South Africans of African ancestry. Although no indication of a prothrombotic state could be detected, there was an indication of accelerated vascular aging and probable early atherosclerosis in the older HIV-infected participants.