The Effect of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) on Body Composition and Clinical Markers of Lipodystrophy in HIV-Infected Children Assessed in Follow-Up Study


Objectives: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been associated with lipodystrophy in children. We evaluated changes in various anthropometric measurements for the assessment of lipodystrophy and assessed whether there was an association with use of protease inhibitors (PI), non-PI containing ART and/or stavudine (d4T). Methods: Eighty-five HIV-infected children attending the HIV clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) were included. The average follow-up was 8.4 months (range 3 - 12 months). Body fat redistribution was assessed by anthropometric measurements including skinfold thickness and circumferences of upper and lower limbs. Measurements were converted to age- and sex-adjusted z-scores through development stages including puberty. Results: Sixty children had taken ART; 37 received PI-containing; 38 received d4T; 25 had never been treated. In the studied population, clinically important changes with decreases in biceps (BSF), subscapular skinfolds and total body fat (4SFT) over period of 12 months were observed. Some increase was noticed in triceps skinfolds (TSF). Limbs circumferences remained at the same level. Further we looked at 4 months basis changes in anthropometric measurements stratified by baseline ART. Generally z-scores of anthropometric measurements were lower in therapy naive children when compared to ART groups. PI-based ART regimens resulted in significant increases in BSF with a trend towards increases in TSF, suprailiac and 4SFT. Mid-arm and thigh circumferences were higher in PI compared to naive group. Similarly, significant changes in BSF z-scores were associated with d4T use. Increases were seen in TSF and mid-arm circumference and decreases were observed in subscapular skinfolds and calf circumference z-scores. Conclusions: Body fat redistribution in HIV-infected children with sub-clinical lipodystrophy could be detected by anthropometric measurements, particularly when PI or d4T is included in ART. Over time, changes with increase in arm and trunk fat, and no change or decrease in leg fat were more pronounced among ART-receiving children.

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A. B. Dzwonek, V. Novelli, C. Smith and M. Lawson, "The Effect of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) on Body Composition and Clinical Markers of Lipodystrophy in HIV-Infected Children Assessed in Follow-Up Study," World Journal of AIDS, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2012, pp. 252-258. doi: 10.4236/wja.2012.23033.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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