Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plaque composition, immune activation explain cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected women

Date:
December 13, 2013
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
A research team has discovered a possible mechanism behind the elevated risk of cardiovascular disease in women infected with HIV, a risk even higher than that of HIV-infected men.

A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team has discovered a possible mechanism behind the elevated risk of cardiovascular disease in women infected with HIV, a risk even higher than that of HIV-infected men. In the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases the investigators report finding that HIV-infected women had a greater prevalence of the type of coronary artery plaque most vulnerable to rupture than did uninfected women. They also found evidence that increased immune system activation may contribute to development of vulnerable plaques, an association that appears to be further amplified in older women.

Related Articles


"Studies have found rates of heart attack and stroke in HIV-infected patients that are from 50 to 100 percent higher than those of uninfected individuals, with particularly high rates -- almost tripled in some studies -- in women," says Steven Grinspoon, MD, director of the MGH Program in Nutritional Metabolism and a member of the Neuroendocrine Unit, the study's principal investigator. "Traditional cardiovascular risk factors only account for part of the excess risk, and previous studies from our group have found both increased immune activation and high-risk vulnerable plaque in HIV-infected men, but this is the first to assess these factors in HIV-infected women."

The study enrolled 90 participants -- 60 HIV-infected women and 30 noninfected controls -- from HIV clinics and community health centers in the Boston area. Participants were ages 18 to 60, with no known cardiovascular disease. The infected participants had long-term diagnoses, averaging 15 years; 98 percent were taking antiretroviral therapy, and 84 percent had undetectable viral loads. The researchers took detailed personal and family medical histories of the participants, ran a full range of blood tests -- including assessment of immune system factors -- and conducted CT angiography to assess the presence and composition of any plaques in participants' coronary arteries.

Although the overall prevalence of coronary plaques was similar between both groups, more of the HIV-infected participants had noncalcified plaques -- unstable deposits of lipids and immune cells more likely to rupture -- while uninfected women tended to have more stable, calcified plaques. Among infected women, 74 percent of the plaque segments in coronary arteries were noncalcified, compared with 24 percent in uninfected women. A previous study in men found noncalcified plaque in 52 percent of plaque-containing coronary artery segments in those who were HIV-infected and in 41 percent of segments in uninfected men.

Among infected women, blood tests revealed elevated activity of both monocytes and T cells -- reflected by higher blood levels of proteins known to be activation markers of those immune cells -- and the increased activity was even greater in older women. An earlier study from the MGH-based Ragon Institute had found that patterns of immune activation differed between HIV-infected women and men, and the current study is the first to associate monocyte activation markers with noncalcified plaque in infected women. Grinspoon notes that while the association is plausible, since plaque formation includes accumulation of activated monocytes, it needs to be investigated further.

"We have found that these two factors -- noncalcified plaque and immune activation -- are uniquely and disproportionately increased among HIV-infected women and together may contribute to the markedly increased cardiovascular disease rates of HIV-infected women," he says. "These results suggest that strategies to reduce monocyte and immune activation may alter that elevated cardiovascular risk, particularly in older women. It will be worthwhile to study whether adding therapies that reduce immune activation -- including the statin drugs frequently prescribed to reduce cholesterol levels -- to antiretroviral therapy can reduce this risk."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. V. Fitch, S. Srinivasa, S. Abbara, T. H. Burdo, K. C. Williams, P. Eneh, J. Lo, S. K. Grinspoon. Noncalcified Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaque and Immune Activation in HIV-Infected Women. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2013; 208 (11): 1737 DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jit508

Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Plaque composition, immune activation explain cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135522.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2013, December 13). Plaque composition, immune activation explain cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135522.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Plaque composition, immune activation explain cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135522.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins