Patterns of Immune Activation in HIV and Non HIV Subjects and Its Relation to Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Alinda G. Vos, Caitlin N. Dodd, Eveline M. Delemarre, Stefan Nierkens, Celicia Serenata, Diederick E. Grobbee, Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch, W. D.Francois Venter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Insight into inflammation patterns is needed to understand the pathophysiology of HIV and related cardiovascular disease (CVD). We assessed patterns of inflammation related to HIV infection and CVD risk assessed with carotid intima media thickness (CIMT). Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed in Johannesburg, South Africa, including participants with HIV who were virally suppressed on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) as well as HIV-negative participants who were family members or friends to the HIV-positive participants. Information was collected on CVD risk factors and CIMT. Inflammation was measured with the Olink panel ‘inflammation’, allowing to simultaneously assess 92 inflammation markers. Differences in inflammation patterns between HIV-positive and HIV-negative participants were explored using a principal component analysis (PCA) and ANCOVA. The impact of differentiating immune markers, as identified by ANCOVA, on CIMT was assessed using linear regression while adjusting for classic CVD risk factors. Results: In total, 185 HIV-positive and 104 HIV negative participants, 63% females, median age 40.7 years (IQR 35.4 – 47.7) were included. HIV-positive individuals were older (+6 years, p <0.01) and had a higher CIMT (p <0.01). No clear patterns of inflammation were identified by use of PCA. Following ANCOVA, nine immune markers differed significantly between HIV-positive and HIV-negative participants, including PDL1. PDL1 was independently associated with CIMT, but upon stratification this effect remained for HIV-negative individuals only. Conclusion: HIV positive patients on stable ART and HIV negative controls had similar immune activation patterns. CVD risk in HIV-positive participants was mediated by inflammation markers included in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number647805
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ART (antiretroviral therapy)
  • CVD (cardio vascular disease)
  • HIV
  • immune markers
  • immune patterns


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