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Current Molecular Medicine


ISSN (Print): 1566-5240
ISSN (Online): 1875-5666

Plasma Mitochondrial DNA Levels as a Biomarker of Lipodystrophy Among HIV-infected Patients Treated with Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).

Author(s): Z. Dai, W. Cai, F. Hu, Y. Lan, L. Li, C. Chung, B. Caughey, K. Zhang and X. Tang

Volume 15, Issue 10, 2015

Page: [975 - 979] Pages: 5

DOI: 10.2174/1566524016666151123114401

open access plus


Lipodystrophy is a common complication in HIV-infected patients taking highly active antiretroviral therapy. Its early diagnosis is crucial for timely modification of antiretroviral therapy. We hypothesize that mitochondrial DNA in plasma may be a potential marker of LD in HIV-infected individuals. In this study, we compared plasma mitochondrial DNA levels in HIV-infected individuals and non-HIV-infected individuals to investigate its potential diagnostic value.

Total plasma DNA was extracted from 67 HIV-infected patients at baseline and 12, 24 and 30 months after initiating antiretroviral therapy. Real-time quantitative PCR was used to determine the mitochondrial DNA levels in plasma. Lipodystrophy was defined by the physician-assessed presence of lipoatrophy or lipohypertrophy in one or more body regions.

The mitochondrial DNA levels in plasma were significantly higher at baseline in HIV-infected individuals than in non-HIV-infected individuals (p<0.05). At month 30, 33 out of 67 patients (49.2%) showed at least one sign of lipodystrophy. The mean plasma mitochondrial DNA levels in lipodystrophy patients were significantly higher compared to those without lipodystrophy at month 24 (p<0.001). The receiver operating curve analysis demonstrated that using plasma mitochondrial DNA level (with cut-off value >5.09 log10 copies/ml) as a molecular marker allowed identification of patients with lipodystrophy with a sensitivity of 64.2% and a specificity of 73.0%.

Our data suggest that mitochondrial DNA levels may help to guide therapy selection with regards to HIV lipodystrophy risk.

Keywords: Biomarker, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), lipodystrophy, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), plasma.

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