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Objectives: Adipocytokines, secreted by adipose tissue, may regulate fat metabolism, lipid and glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. We analysed the relations between circulating concentrations of adiponectin, leptin, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor [alpha] and its soluble receptors sTNFR1 and R2, lipodystrophic phenotypes and metabolic alterations in patients under highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

Methods: We studied 131 consecutive HIV-infected males under protease inhibitor (PI)-based HAART, with body mass index < 27 kg/m2 and C-reactive protein (CRP) < 10 mg/l. Patients were classified in four groups according to clinical examination: no lipodystrophy (NL), lipohypertrophy (LH), lipoatrophy (LA) and mixed lipodystrophy (ML). In addition to adipocytokines, we measured plasma fasting levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, cardiovascular risk markers (high-sensitivity CRP and apolipoproteins B/A1 ratio), fasted and 2 h post-glucose loading glycemia and insulinemia and calculated the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index.

Results: The patients were HIV-infected and PI-treated for a mean of 8.2 and 1.6 years respectively; 74% presented lipodystrophy, 38% altered glucose tolerance and 42% hypertriglyceridemia. Insulin sensitivity correlated positively with adiponectin and negatively with leptin and interleukin-6. Adiponectin, but not leptin, negatively correlated with all metabolic parameters. Insulin resistance, metabolic defects and cardiovascular risk markers were strongly negatively correlated with the adiponectin/leptin ratio (A/L), and positively with sTNFR1. LA patients had a longer duration of infection but ML patients presented the most severe metabolic alterations, insulin resistance and A/L decrease.

Conclusions: These results suggest that adiponectin and the TNF[alpha] system are related to lipodystrophy, insulin resistance and metabolic alterations in patients under PI-based HAART. A/L and sTNFR1 could predict insulin sensitivity and potential cardiovascular risk in these patients.

(C) 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.