Comorbidities of HIV infection: role of Nef-induced impairment of cholesterol metabolism and lipid raft functionality

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Combination antiretroviral therapy has dramatically changed the outcome of HIV infection, turning it from a death sentence to a manageable chronic disease. However, comorbidities accompanying HIV infection, such as metabolic and cardio-vascular diseases, as well as cognitive impairment, persist despite successful virus control by combination antiretroviral therapy and pose considerable challenges to clinical management of people living with HIV. These comorbidities involve a number of pathological processes affecting a variety of different tissues and cells, making it challenging to identify a common cause(s) that would link these different diseases to HIV infection. In this article, we will present evidence that impairment of cellular cholesterol metabolism may be a common factor driving pathogenesis of HIV-associated comorbidities. Potential implications for therapeutic approaches are discussed.

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