Increased systemic and adipose tissue cytokines in patients with HIV-associated lipodystrophy

Julia A. Johnson, Jeanine B. Albu, Ellen S. Engelson, Susan K. Fried, Yoritaro Inada, Gabriel Ionescu, Donald P. Kotler

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126 Scopus citations


The lipodystrophy syndrome (adipose tissue redistribution and metabolic abnormalities) observed with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection may be related to increased proinflammatory cytokine activity. We measured acute cytokine (TNF-α, IL-6, leptin), glycerol, and lactate secretion from abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and systemic cytokine levels, in HIV-infected subjects with and without lipodystrophy (HIVL+ and HIVL-, respectively) and healthy non-HIV controls. Lipodystrophy was confirmed and characterized as adipose tissue redistribution in HIVL+ compared with HIVL- and controls, by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and by whole body MRI. TNF-α secretion from abdominal SAT and circulating levels of IL-6, soluble TNF receptors I and II, and insulin were elevated in HIVL+ relative to HIVL- and/or controls, particularly in HIVL+ undergoing HAART. In the HIV-infected group as a whole, IL-6 secretion from abdominal SAT and serum IL-6 were positively associated with visceral fat and were negatively associated with the relative amount of lower limb adipose tissue (P < 0.01). Decreased leptin and increased lactate secretion from abdominal SAT were specifically associated with HAART. In conclusion, increased cytokine secretion from adipose tissue and increased systemic proinflammatory cytokine activity may play a significant role in the adipose tissue remodeling and/or the metabolic abnormalities associated with the HIV-lipodystrophy syndrome in patients undergoing HAART.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E261-E271
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2 49-2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Glycerol
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lactate
  • Tumor necrosis factor-α
  • Visceral adipose tissue


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