Adipose Tissue Alterations Related to HIV and Antiretroviral Therapy

Headshot of Diana Alba, MD
Award mentor
Award type
Award date
Award cycle
Award amount - Direct


The goal of this research project is to understand how HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy affect adipose tissue dysfunction in people living with HIV (PWH). Adipose tissue dysfunction in PWH can lead to metabolic complications like cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, and diabetes. The project aims to achieve two specific objectives:

Aim 1: Evaluate the effect of HIV and antiretroviral therapy by class (INSTIs-treated versus non-INSTI-treated) on adipose fibrosis, systemic inflammation, and insulin resistance. We will collect adipose tissue samples from PWH and uninfected individuals and evaluate the level of subcutaneous adipose tissue fibrosis, which can contribute to metabolic complications. We will correlate adipose tissue fibrosis with insulin resistance and various inflammatory biomarkers to assess the impact of HIV and antiretroviral therapy.

Aim 2. Assess the beige capacity of adipogenic precursor cells and the expression of brown and beige specific genes in subcutaneous adipose tissue. We will evaluate the expression levels of specific genes involved in the development of beige adipocytes in PWH and uninfected individuals. We will assess the impact of HIV and antiretroviral therapy on the proliferative capacity and differentiation potential of beige adipocytes.

The project will provide valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying adipose tissue dysfunction in PWH and could lead to the development of targeted strategies to treat fat alterations in PWH. A better understanding of how HIV and antiretroviral therapy influence adipose tissue dysfunction can lead to enhanced overall health outcomes for people living with HIV.