Background: HIV infection is associated with premature development of cardiovascular disease. Understanding the effects of HIV replication on endothelial dysfunction and platelet activation may identify treatment targets to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Methods: A subgroup of HIV-infected participants in the Strategies for Management of Antiretroviral Therapy study off antiretroviral therapy (ART) at entry enabled a randomized comparison of immediate versus deferred ART initiation of changes in asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), and P-selectin levels. Results: At study entry, median (interquartile range) levels of ADMA, sCD40L, and P-selectin were 0.57 (0.49-0.66) μg/mL, 251 (135-696) μmol/L, and 34 (28-44) pg/mL. Compared to those randomized to deferral of ART (n = 114), participants randomized to immediate ART (n = 134) had 10.3% lower ADMA levels (P = 0.003) at 12 months; treatment differences in sCD40L (95% confidence interval: 217% to 44%; P = 0.53) and P-selectin (95% confidence interval: 210% to 10%; P = 0.95) were not significant. The difference in ADMA for those assigned immediate ART compared with those assigned ART deferral was greater among younger patients and those with higher levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and D-dimer (P ≤ 0.05 for interaction for both) but not HIV RNA level at baseline (P = 0.51). Discussion: ART initiation leads to declines in ADMA levels, a marker of nitric oxide-mediated endothelial dysfunction. Improvement in ADMA levels was related to the degree of inflammation and coagulation, suggesting that upregulation of these pathways contributes to premature vascular disease among individuals with HIV infection. Whether declines in ADMA levels impact risk of disease requires further research.
- Antiretroviral therapy
- Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA)
- CD40 ligand
- Endothelial dysfunction
- HIV infection