<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Abacavir (ABC) treatment has been associated with an increased incidence of myocardial infarction. The pathophysiological mechanism is unknown. In this study markers of inflammation and coagulation in HIV-infected patients using antiretroviral therapy with or without ABC were examined to pinpoint a pathogenic mechanism. Given the important role of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels in predicting cardiovascular risk, patient groups were also analyzed according to hsCRP levels.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Patients treated with ABC and a matched control group treated without ABC were selected retrospectively. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and markers of endothelial cell activation (von Willebrand factor (vWF), factor VIII), fibrin formation (fibrinogen, D-dimer, prothrombin fragment 1+2 (F1+2), endogenous thrombin potential (ETP)), anticoagulation markers (protein C and S, activated protein C sensitivity ratio (APCsr)) and inflammation markers (IL-6, hsCRP) were measured in citrated plasma.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>A total of 81 patients were included of whom 27 patients used an ABC-containing regimen and 54 used a non-ABC-containing regimen. Patient characteristics were not significantly different between the groups except for longer duration of use of the current antiretroviral regimen in the ABC group (p = 0.01). The median time on ABC was 68 months (interquartile range 59-80 months). No differences in coagulation and inflammation markers according to ABC use were observed. For the whole patient group elevated vWF and F1+2 levels were observed in 23% and 37%, respectively. Compared to the reference ranges for the general population increased APCsr was found in 79% and lower protein C and VEGF levels in 40% and 43%, respectively. Patients in the high-risk category for cardiovascular disease with hsCRP levels > 3 mg/L had significantly higher fibrinogen, D-dimer, F1+2 and ETP levels compared to patients from the low-risk category with hsCRP levels < 1 mg/L.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>HIV-infected patients using ABC showed no specific abnormalities in coagulation or inflammation markers that might explain the increased risk of myocardial infarction. For the whole group, regardless of ABC use, evidence of a prothrombotic state was observed. Thirty-three percent of patients with long-term use of antiretroviral treatment had hsCRP levels above 3 mg/L, which is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease in HIV-uninfected individuals.</p
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