BACKGROUND:\ud Metabolic and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) represent a major problem in HIV infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) with circulating levels of two adipokines (Lipocalin-2 and Fatty Acid Binding Protein-4, FABP-4), known to be associated with adipose tissue dysfunction and cardiovascular disease in the general population.\ud \ud METHODS:\ud We enrolled 40 non-obese HIV-infected patients and 10 healthy controls of similar age and Body Mass Index (BMI). Body composition, metabolic syndrome, lipid profile, 10-years CVD risk score, and adipokines levels were compared between groups. ART-regimen status (naïve, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors - NNRTIs - and protease inhibitors - PIs) association with adipokines levels was tested with linear regression models.\ud \ud RESULTS:\ud HIV patients showed a worse metabolic profile than controls. Lipocalin-2 levels were higher in HIV-infected subjects (+53%; p = 0.007), with a significant trend (p = 0.003) for higher levels among subjects taking NNRTIs. Association of lipocalin-2 with fat-mass and BMI was modulated by ART regimens, being positive among subjects treated with NNRTIs and negative among those treated with PIs ("ART-regimens-by-BMI" interaction p = 0.0009). FABP-4 levels were correlated with age, fat mass, BMI, lipid profile and CVD risk (all R ≥ 0.32, p < 0.05), but not influenced by HIV-status (+20%; p = 0.12) or ART-regimen (p = 0.4).\ud \ud CONCLUSIONS:\ud Our data confirm that HIV-infection is associated with adipose tissue inflammation, as measured by Lipocalin-2 levels, and ART does not attenuate this association. While FABP-4 is a marker of worse metabolic and CVD profile independently of HIV status or ART regimen, lipocalin-2 could represent a useful marker for HIV- and ART-related adipose tissue dysfunction
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