Fat Distribution in Women With HIV Infection

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Abstract

Objective:

Both peripheral fat loss and central fat gain have been reported in women with HIV infection. We determined the fat changes that are specific to HIV infection in women.

Methods:

HIV-infected and control women from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) were compared. Lipoatrophy or lipohypertrophy was defined as concordance between participant report of fat change and clinical examination. Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging measured regional adipose tissue volumes. The relationship among different adipose tissue depots was assessed. Factors associated with individual depots were analyzed using multivariate linear regression.

Results:

HIV-infected women reported more fat loss than controls in all peripheral and most central depots. Peripheral lipoatrophy was more frequent in HIV-infected women than controls (28% vs. 4%, P < 0.001), whereas central lipohypertrophy was similar (62% vs. 63%). Among HIV-infected women, those with central lipohypertrophy were less likely to have peripheral lipoatrophy (odds ratio, 0.39; 95% confidence interval, 0.20 to 0.75, P = 0.006) than those without central lipohypertrophy. On magnetic resonance imaging, HIV-infected women with clinical peripheral lipoatrophy had less subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in peripheral and central sites and less visceral adipose tissue (VAT) than HIV-infected women without peripheral lipoatrophy. Compared with controls, HIV-infected women had less SAT in the legs, regardless of the presence or absence of lipoatrophy. However, those without lipoatrophy had more VAT and upper trunk SAT than controls. Use of the antiretroviral drug stavudine was associated with less leg SAT but was not associated with VAT. The use of highly active antiretroviral therapy, however, was associated with more VAT.

Conclusions:

Peripheral lipoatrophy occurs commonly in HIV-infected women but is not associated with reciprocally increased VAT or trunk fat.

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