A high prevalence of liver stiffness, as determined by elevated transient elastography liver stiffness measurement, was previously found in a cohort of HIV-infected Ugandans in the absence of chronic viral hepatitis. Given the role of immune activation and microbial translocation in models of liver disease, a shared immune mechanism was hypothesized in the same cohort without other overt causes of liver disease. This study examined whether HIV-related liver stiffness was associated with markers of immune activation or microbial translocation (MT). A retrospective case-control study of subjects with evidence of liver stiffness as defined by a transient elastography stiffness measurement ≥9.3 kPa (cases=133) and normal controls (n=133) from Rakai, Uganda was performed. Cases were matched to controls by age, gender, HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) status. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), endotoxin IgM antibody, soluble CD14 (sCD14), C-reactive protein (CRP), and D-dimer levels were measured. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted matched odds ratios (adjMOR) and 95% confidence intervals. Higher sCD14 levels were associated with a 19% increased odds of liver stiffness (adjMOR=1.19, p=0.002). In HIV-infected individuals, higher sCD14 levels were associated with a 54% increased odds of having liver stiffness (adjMOR=1.54, p<0.001); however, the opposite was observed in HIV-negative individuals (adjMOR=0.57, p=0.001). No other biomarker was significantly associated with liver stiffness, and only one subject was found to have detectable LPS. Liver stiffness in HIV-infected Ugandans is associated with increased sCD14 indicative of monocyte activation in the absence of viral hepatitis or microbial translocation, and suggests that HIV may be directly involved in liver disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases