Lower pretreatment gut integrity is independently associated with fat gain on antiretroviral therapy

Vanessa El Kamari, Carlee Moser, Corrilynn O. Hileman, Judith S. Currier, Todd T. Brown, Liz Johnston, Peter W. Hunt, Grace A. McComsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background Fat accumulation and insulin resistance remain a threat to the success of antiretroviral therapy (ART). The role of gut dysfunction in metabolic complications associated with ART initiation is unclear. Methods Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected ART-naive participants were randomized to tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine plus atazanavir/ritonavir, darunavir/ritonavir, or raltegravir (RAL). Changes in the gut integrity markers zonulin, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP), and intestinal fatty acid and ileal bile acid binding proteins (I-FABP and I-BABP) were assessed over 96 weeks. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to compare changes between groups and linear regression models to quantify associations between gut markers, insulin resistance, body mass index (BMI), and visceral, subcutaneous, and total adipose tissue (VAT, SAT, and TAT). Results: 90% were male and 48% were White non-Hispanic. The median age was 36 years, HIV-1 ribonucleic acid was 4.56 log 10 copies/mL, and CD4 count was 338 cells/μL. An overall 1.7-fold increase in I-FABP was observed throughout 96 weeks, with no difference between arms. Zonulin levels increased with RAL compared to protease inhibitor-based regimens (week 96, P =.02); minimal changes in I-BABP or LBP levels were observed. Higher baseline I-FABP levels were associated with increases in VAT, TAT, and BMI (16%, 9%, and 2.5%, respectively; P <.04) over 96 weeks. Conclusions While ART induces changes in the markers of gut barrier dysfunction, the extent to which they improve or worsen the gut barrier function remains unclear. Nevertheless, markers of gut barrier dysfunction in ART-naive individuals predict increases in total and visceral abdominal fat with treatment initiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1394-1401
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 8 2019


  • body composition
  • gut integrity
  • microbial translocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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