Aging, Inflammation and HIV infection
Prolonged survival in HIV infection is accompanied by an increased frequency of non-HIV-related comorbidities. A number of age-related comorbidities occur earlier in HIV-infected patients than in individuals without HIV infection. This "accelerated aging" appears to be largely related to chronic inflammation, chronic immune activation, and immunosenescence in HIV infection. Levels of markers of inflammation and coagulopathy are elevated in HIV-infected patients, and elevations in markers such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, D-dimer, and interleukin 6 (IL-6) have been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, opportunistic conditions, or all-cause mortality. In both HIV infection and aging, immunosenescence is marked by an increased proportion of CD28-, CD57+ memory CD8+ T cells with reduced capacity to produce interleukin 2 (IL-2), increased production of IL-6, resistance to apoptosis, and shortened telomeres. A number of AIDS Clinical Trials Group studies are under way to examine treatment aimed at reducing chronic inflammation and immune activation in HIV infection. This article summarizes a presentation by Judith A. Aberg, MD, at the IAS-USA live continuing medical education course held in New York City in October 2011.