Most Recent Papers

Polygenic Scores and Preclinical Cardiovascular Disease in Individuals With HIV: Insights From the REPRIEVE Trial.

Zou RS, Ruan Y, Truong B, Bhattacharya R, Lu MT, Karády J, Bernardo R, Finneran P, Hornsby W, Fitch KV, Ribaudo HJ, Zanni MV, Douglas PS, Grinspoon SK, Patel AP, Natarajan P.J Am Heart Assoc. 2024 Apr 2;13(7):e033413. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.123.033413. Epub 2024 Mar 27.PMID: 38533953


Background: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a leading cause of death among the 38.4 million people with HIV globally. The extent to which cardiovascular polygenic risk scores (PRSs) derived in non-HIV populations generalize to people with HIV is not well understood.

Methods and results: PRSs for CAD (GPSMult) and lipid traits were calculated in a global cohort of people with HIV treated with antiretroviral therapy with low-to-moderate atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk enrolled in REPRIEVE (Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV). The PRSs were associated with baseline lipid traits in 4495 genotyped participants, and with subclinical CAD in a subset of 662 who underwent coronary computed tomography angiography. Among participants who underwent coronary computed tomography angiography (mean age, 50.9 [SD, 5.8] years; 16.1% women; 41.8% African, 57.3% European, 1.1% Asian), GPSMult was associated with plaque presence with odds ratio (OR) per SD in GPSMult of 1.42 (95% CI, 1.20-1.68; P=3.8×10-5), stenosis >50% (OR, 2.39 [95% CI, 1.48-3.85]; P=3.4×10-4), and noncalcified/vulnerable plaque (OR, 1.45 [95% CI, 1.23-1.72]; P=9.6×10-6). Effects were consistent in subgroups of age, sex, 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk, ancestry, and CD4 count. Adding GPSMult to established risk factors increased the C-statistic for predicting plaque presence from 0.718 to 0.734 (P=0.02). Furthermore, a PRS for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was associated with plaque presence with OR of 1.21 (95% CI, 1.01-1.44; P=0.04), and partially calcified plaque with OR of 1.21 (95% CI, 1.01-1.45; P=0.04) per SD.

Conclusions: Among people with HIV treated with antiretroviral therapy without documented atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and at low-to-moderate calculated risk in REPRIEVE, an externally developed CAD PRS was predictive of subclinical atherosclerosis. PRS for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was also associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, supporting a role for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in HIV-associated CAD.

Registration: URL:; Unique identifier: NCT02344290.

Keywords: coronary CT angiography; people with HIV; polygenic risk scores; subclinical atherosclerosis.

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Obesity is South Africa's new HIV epidemic.

Chandiwana N, Venter W, Manne-Goehler J, Wade A, Le Roux C, Mbalati N, Grimbeek A, Kruger P, Montsho E, Zimela Z, Yawa A, Tshabalala S, Rambau N, Mpofu N, Stevenson S, McNulty B, Ntusi N, Pillay Y, Dave J, Murphy A, Goldstein S, Hfman K, Mahomedy S, Thomas E, Mrara B, Wing J, Lubbe J, Koto Z, Conradie-Smit M, Wharton S, May W, Marr I, Kaplan H, Forgan M, Alexander G, Turner J, Fourie VR, Hellig J, Banks M, Ragsdale K, Noeth M, Mohamed F, Myer L, Lebina L, Maswime S, Moosa Y, Thomas S, Mbelle M, Sinxadi P, Bekker LG, Bhana S, Fabian J, Decloedt E, Bayat Z, Daya R, Bobat B, Storie F, Goedecke J, Kahn K, Tollman S, Mansfield B, Siedner M, Marconi V, Mody A, Mtshali N, Geng E, Srinivasa S, Ali M, Lalla-Edwards S, Bentley A, Wolvaardt G, Hill A, Nel J.S Afr Med J. 2024 Mar 18;114(3):e1927. doi: 10.7196/SAMJ.2024.v114i3.1927.PMID: 38525565

No Abstract available

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Pharmacotherapy causing weight gain and metabolic alteration in those with obesity and obesity-related conditions: A review.

Anekwe CV, Ahn YJ, Bajaj SS, Stanford FC.Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2024 Mar;1533(1):145-155. doi: 10.1111/nyas.15112. Epub 2024 Feb 22.PMID: 38385953


This review aims to summarize pharmacological interventions that may affect adiposity and metabolic equilibrium in individuals with obesity. Pharmacological therapy is frequently used to treat medical conditions that are both directly related to obesity (such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes) and indirectly related to obesity (such as asthma, insomnia, and type 1 diabetes). This pharmacological therapy may result in weight gain and alterations in the metabolic profile. Many medication classes are implicated in the pharmacologic causes of weight gain, including antipsychotics, glucocorticoids, beta-adrenergic blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines, insulin, neuropathic agents, sleep agents, and steroids. This article describes the mechanisms of action and pathways of pharmacological interventions causing obesity.

Keywords: metabolism; obesity; obesity comorbidities; pharmacotherapy; weight gain.

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Effects of Pitavastatin on Coronary Artery Disease and Inflammatory Biomarkers in HIV: Mechanistic Substudy of the REPRIEVE Randomized Clinical Trial.

Lu MT, Ribaudo H, Foldyna B, Zanni MV, Mayrhofer T, Karady J, Taron J, Fitch KV, McCallum S, Burdo TH, Paradis K, Hedgire SS, Meyersohn NM, DeFilippi C, Malvestutto CD, Sturniolo A, Diggs M, Siminski S, Bloomfield GS, Alston-Smith B, Desvigne-Nickens P, Overton ET, Currier JS, Aberg JA, Fichtenbaum CJ, Hoffmann U, Douglas PS, Grinspoon SK; REPRIEVE Trial Writing Group.JAMA Cardiol. 2024 Feb 21:e235661. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2023.5661. Online ahead of print. PMID: 38381407


Importance: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is increased in people with HIV (PWH) and is characterized by premature noncalcified coronary plaque. In the Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV (REPRIEVE), pitavastatin reduced major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) by 35% over a median of 5.1 years.

Objective: To investigate the effects of pitavastatin on noncalcified coronary artery plaque by coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) and on inflammatory biomarkers as potential mechanisms for MACE prevention.

Design, setting, and participants: This double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial enrolled participants from April 2015 to February 2018 at 31 US clinical research sites. PWH without known CVD who were taking antiretroviral therapy and had low to moderate 10-year CVD risk were included. Data were analyzed from April to November 2023.

Intervention: Oral pitavastatin calcium, 4 mg per day.

Main outcomes and measures: Coronary CTA and inflammatory biomarkers at baseline and 24 months. The primary outcomes were change in noncalcified coronary plaque volume and progression of noncalcified plaque.

Results: Of 804 enrolled persons, 774 had at least 1 evaluable CTA. Plaque changes were assessed in 611 who completed both CT scans. Of 611 analyzed participants, 513 (84.0%) were male, the mean (SD) age was 51 (6) years, and the median (IQR) 10-year CVD risk was 4.5% (2.6-7.0). A total of 302 were included in the pitavastatin arm and 309 in the placebo arm. The mean noncalcified plaque volume decreased with pitavastatin compared with placebo (mean [SD] change, -1.7 [25.2] mm3 vs 2.6 [27.1] mm3; baseline adjusted difference, -4.3 mm3; 95% CI, -8.6 to -0.1; P = .04; 7% [95% CI, 1-12] greater reduction relative to placebo). A larger effect size was seen among the subgroup with plaque at baseline (-8.8 mm3 [95% CI, -17.9 to 0.4]). Progression of noncalcified plaque was 33% less likely with pitavastatin compared with placebo (relative risk, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.52-0.88; P = .003). Compared with placebo, the mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased with pitavastatin (mean change: pitavastatin, -28.5 mg/dL; 95% CI, -31.9 to -25.1; placebo, -0.8; 95% CI, -3.8 to 2.2). The pitavastatin arm had a reduction in both oxidized low-density lipoprotein (-29% [95% CI, -32 to -26] vs -13% [95% CI, -17 to -9]; P < .001) and lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (-7% [95% CI, -11 to -4] vs 14% [95% CI, 10-18]; P < .001) compared with placebo at 24 months.

Conclusions and relevance: In PWH at low to moderate CVD risk, 24 months of pitavastatin reduced noncalcified plaque volume and progression as well as markers of lipid oxidation and arterial inflammation. These changes may contribute to the observed MACE reduction in REPRIEVE.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT02344290.

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Offspring cardiometabolic outcomes and postnatal growth trajectories after exposure to maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Shook LL, Castro VM, Herzberg EM, Fourman LT, Kaimal AJ, Perlis RH, Edlow AG.Obesity (Silver Spring). 2024 Feb 13. doi: 10.1002/oby.23998. Online ahead of print. PMID: 38351665


Objective: The objective of this study is to determine whether in utero exposure to SARS-CoV-2 is associated with increased risk for a cardiometabolic diagnosis by 18 months of age.

Methods: This retrospective electronic health record (EHR)-based cohort study included the live-born offspring of all individuals who delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 1, 2020-December 31, 2021) at eight hospitals in Massachusetts. Offspring exposure was defined as a positive maternal SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test during pregnancy. The primary outcome was presence of an ICD-10 code for a cardiometabolic disorder in offspring EHR by 18 months. Weight-, length-, and BMI-for-age z scores were calculated and compared at 6-month intervals from birth to 18 months.

Results: A total of 29,510 offspring (1599 exposed and 27,911 unexposed) were included. By 18 months, 6.7% of exposed and 4.4% of unexposed offspring had received a cardiometabolic diagnosis (crude odds ratio [OR] 1.47 [95% CI: 1.10 to 1.94], p = 0.007; adjusted OR 1.38 [1.06 to 1.77], p = 0.01). Exposed offspring had a significantly greater mean BMI-for-age z score versus unexposed offspring at 6 months (z score difference 0.19 [95% CI: 0.10 to 0.29], p < 0.001; adjusted difference 0.04 [-0.06 to 0.13], p = 0.4).

Conclusions: Exposure to maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with an increased risk of receiving a cardiometabolic diagnosis by 18 months preceded by greater BMI-for-age at 6 months.

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Most Cited Publications

Increased acute myocardial infarction rates and cardiovascular risk factors among patients with human immunodeficiency virus disease 

Triant VA, Lee H, Hadigan C, Grinspoon SK. Increased acute myocardial infarction rates and cardiovascular risk factors among patients with human immunodeficiency virus disease. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jul;92(7):2506-12. doi: 10.1210/jc.2006-2190. Epub 2007 Apr 24. PMID: 17456578; PMCID: PMC2763385.


Context: Metabolic changes and smoking are common among HIV patients and may confer increased cardiovascular risk.

Objective: The aim of the study was to determine acute myocardial infarction (AMI) rates and cardiovascular risk factors in HIV compared with non-HIV patients in two tertiary care hospitals.

Design, setting, and participants: We conducted a health care system-based cohort study using a large data registry with 3,851 HIV and 1,044,589 non-HIV patients. AMI rates were determined among patients receiving longitudinal care between October 1, 1996, and June 30, 2004.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was myocardial infarction, identified by International Classification of Diseases coding criteria.

Results: AMI was identified in 189 HIV and 26,142 non-HIV patients. AMI rates per 1000 person-years were increased in HIV vs. non-HIV patients [11.13 (95% confidence interval [CI] 9.58-12.68) vs. 6.98 (95% CI 6.89-7.06)]. The HIV cohort had significantly higher proportions of hypertension (21.2 vs. 15.9%), diabetes (11.5 vs. 6.6%), and dyslipidemia (23.3 vs. 17.6%) than the non-HIV cohort (P < 0.0001 for each comparison). The difference in AMI rates between HIV and non-HIV patients was significant, with a relative risk (RR) of 1.75 (95% CI 1.51-2.02; P < 0.0001), adjusting for age, gender, race, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. In gender-stratified models, the unadjusted AMI rates per 1000 person-years were higher for HIV patients among women (12.71 vs. 4.88 for HIV compared with non-HIV women), but not among men (10.48 vs. 11.44 for HIV compared with non-HIV men). The RRs (for HIV vs. non-HIV) were 2.98 (95% CI 2.33-3.75; P < 0.0001) for women and 1.40 (95% CI 1.16-1.67; P = 0.0003) for men, adjusting for age, gender, race, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. A limitation of this database is that it contains incomplete data on smoking. Smoking could not be included in the overall regression model, and some of the increased risk may be accounted for by differences in smoking rates.

Conclusions: AMI rates and cardiovascular risk factors were increased in HIV compared with non-HIV patients, particularly among women. Cardiac risk modification strategies are important for the long-term care of HIV patients.

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Adipose-derived circulating miRNAs regulate gene expression in other tissues 

Thomou T, Mori MA, Dreyfuss JM, Konishi M, Sakaguchi M, Wolfrum C, Rao TN, Winnay JN, Garcia-Martin R, Grinspoon SK, Gorden P, Kahn CR. Adipose-derived circulating miRNAs regulate gene expression in other tissues. Nature. 2017 Feb 23;542(7642):450-455. doi: 10.1038/nature21365. Epub 2017 Feb 15. Erratum in: Nature. 2017 May 10;545(7653):252. PMID: 28199304; PMCID: PMC5330251.


Adipose tissue is a major site of energy storage and has a role in the regulation of metabolism through the release of adipokines. Here we show that mice with an adipose-tissue-specific knockout of the microRNA (miRNA)-processing enzyme Dicer (ADicerKO), as well as humans with lipodystrophy, exhibit a substantial decrease in levels of circulating exosomal miRNAs. Transplantation of both white and brown adipose tissue-brown especially-into ADicerKO mice restores the level of numerous circulating miRNAs that are associated with an improvement in glucose tolerance and a reduction in hepatic Fgf21 mRNA and circulating FGF21. This gene regulation can be mimicked by the administration of normal, but not ADicerKO, serum exosomes. Expression of a human-specific miRNA in the brown adipose tissue of one mouse in vivo can also regulate its 3' UTR reporter in the liver of another mouse through serum exosomal transfer. Thus, adipose tissue constitutes an important source of circulating exosomal miRNAs, which can regulate gene expression in distant tissues and thereby serve as a previously undescribed form of adipokine.

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Soluble CD163, a novel marker of activated macrophages, is elevated and associated with noncalcified coronary plaque in HIV-infected patients 

Burdo TH, Lo J, Abbara S, Wei J, DeLelys ME, Preffer F, Rosenberg ES, Williams KC, Grinspoon S. Soluble CD163, a novel marker of activated macrophages, is elevated and associated with noncalcified coronary plaque in HIV-infected patients. J Infect Dis. 2011 Oct 15;204(8):1227-36. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir520. PMID: 21917896; PMCID: PMC3203384.


Background: Pro-inflammatory monocytes/macrophages may contribute to increased atherosclerosis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. We investigate--to our knowledge, for the first time--sCD163 and other markers of monocyte activation in relationship to atherosclerotic plaque in HIV-infected patients.

Methods: One hundred two HIV-infected and 41 HIV-seronegative men with equivalent cardiovascular risk factors and without history of coronary artery disease were prospectively recruited and underwent computed tomography coronary angiography.

Results: sCD163 levels and presence of plaque were significantly higher among antiretroviral-treated subjects with undetectable HIV RNA levels, compared with seronegative controls (1172 ± 646 vs. 883 ± 561 ng/mL [P = .02] for sCD163 and 61% vs. 39% [P = .03] for presence of plaque). After adjusting for age, race, lipids, blood pressure, glucose, smoking, sCD14, and HIV infection, sCD163 remained independently associated with noncalcified plaque (P = .008). Among HIV-infected patients, sCD163 was associated with coronary segments with noncalcified plaque (r = 0.21; P = .04), but not with calcium score. In contrast, markers of generalized inflammation, including C-reactive protein level, and D-dimer were not associated with sCD163 or plaque among HIV-infected patients.

Conclusions: sCD163, a monocyte/macrophage activation marker, is increased in association with noncalcified coronary plaque in men with chronic HIV infection and low or undetectable viremia. These data suggest a potentially important role of chronic monocyte/macrophage activation in the development of noncalcified vulnerable plaque.

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Arterial inflammation in patients with HIV 

Subramanian S, Tawakol A, Burdo TH, Abbara S, Wei J, Vijayakumar J, Corsini E, Abdelbaky A, Zanni MV, Hoffmann U, Williams KC, Lo JGrinspoon SK. Arterial inflammation in patients with HIV. JAMA. 2012 Jul 25;308(4):379-86. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.6698. PMID: 22820791; PMCID: PMC3724172.


Context: Cardiovascular disease is increased in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but the specific mechanisms are unknown.

Objective: To assess arterial wall inflammation in HIV, using 18fluorine-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG-PET), in relationship to traditional and nontraditional risk markers, including soluble CD163 (sCD163), a marker of monocyte and macrophage activation.

Design, setting, and participants: A cross-sectional study of 81 participants investigated between November 2009 and July 2011 at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Twenty-seven participants with HIV without known cardiac disease underwent cardiac 18F-FDG-PET for assessment of arterial wall inflammation and coronary computed tomography scanning for coronary artery calcium. The HIV group was compared with 2 separate non-HIV control groups. One control group (n = 27) was matched to the HIV group for age, sex, and Framingham risk score (FRS) and had no known atherosclerotic disease (non-HIV FRS-matched controls). The second control group (n = 27) was matched on sex and selected based on the presence of known atherosclerotic disease (non-HIV atherosclerotic controls).

Main outcome measure: Arterial inflammation was prospectively determined as the ratio of FDG uptake in the arterial wall of the ascending aorta to venous background as the target-to-background ratio (TBR).

Results: Participants with HIV demonstrated well-controlled HIV disease (mean [SD] CD4 cell count, 641 [288] cells/μL; median [interquartile range] HIV-RNA level, <48 [<48 to <48] copies/mL). All were receiving antiretroviral therapy (mean [SD] duration, 12.3 [4.3] years). The mean FRS was low in both HIV and non-HIV FRS-matched control participants (6.4; 95% CI, 4.8-8.0 vs 6.6; 95% CI, 4.9-8.2; P = .87). Arterial inflammation in the aorta (aortic TBR) was higher in the HIV group vs the non-HIV FRS-matched control group (2.23; 95% CI, 2.07-2.40 vs 1.89; 95% CI, 1.80-1.97; P < .001), but was similar compared with the non-HIV atherosclerotic control group (2.23; 95% CI, 2.07-2.40 vs 2.13; 95% CI, 2.03-2.23; P = .29). Aortic TBR remained significantly higher in the HIV group vs the non-HIV FRS-matched control group after adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors (P = .002) and in stratified analyses among participants with undetectable viral load, zero calcium, FRS of less than 10, a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dL (<2.59 mmol/L), no statin use, and no smoking (all P ≤ .01). Aortic TBR was associated with sCD163 level (P = .04) but not with C-reactive protein (P = .65) or D-dimer (P = .08) among patients with HIV.

Conclusion: Participants infected with HIV vs noninfected control participants with similar cardiac risk factors had signs of increased arterial inflammation, which was associated with a circulating marker of monocyte and macrophage activation.

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Fracture prevalence among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected versus non-HIV-infected patients in a large U.S. healthcare system 

Triant VA, Brown TT, Lee H, Grinspoon SK. Fracture prevalence among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected versus non-HIV-infected patients in a large U.S. healthcare system. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Sep;93(9):3499-504. doi: 10.1210/jc.2008-0828. Epub 2008 Jul 1. PMID: 18593764; PMCID: PMC2567857.


Context: Reduced bone mineral density has been demonstrated among HIV-infected patients, but fracture prevalence is unknown.

Objective: The objective of the study was to compare fracture prevalence in HIV-infected and non-HIV-infected patients.

Design: This was a population-based study.

Setting: The study was conducted at a large U.S. health care system.

Patients: A total of 8525 HIV-infected and 2,208,792 non-HIV-infected patients with at least one inpatient or outpatient encounter between October 1, 1996, and March 21, 2008, was compared.

Main outcome measure: Fracture prevalence using specific International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification fracture codes was measured.

Results: The overall fracture prevalence was 2.87 vs. 1.77 patients with fractures per 100 persons in HIV-infected, compared with non-HIV-infected patients (P < 0.0001). Among females, the overall fracture prevalence was 2.49 vs. 1.72 per 100 persons in HIV-infected vs. non-HIV-infected patients (P = 0.002). HIV-infected females had a higher prevalence of vertebral (0.81 vs. 0.45; P = 0.01) and wrist (1.31 vs. 0.83; P = 0.01) fractures per 100 persons, compared with non-HIV-infected females but had a similar prevalence of hip fractures (0.47 vs. 0.56; P = 0.53). Among males, the fracture prevalence per 100 persons was higher in HIV-infected vs. non-HIV-infected patients for any fracture (3.08 vs. 1.83; P < 0.0001), vertebral fractures (1.03 vs. 0.49; P < 0.0001), hip fractures (0.79 vs. 0.45; P = 0.001), and wrist fractures (1.46 vs. 0.99; P = 0.001). Fracture prevalence was higher relative to non-HIV-infected patients among African-American and Caucasian females and Caucasian males.

Conclusions: Fracture prevalence is increased in HIV-infected compared with non-HIV-infected patients.

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GHRH or analogues thereof for use in treatment of hepatic disease

Patent Number: 10,799,562


The present application relates to novel methods for preventing, slowing the progression of, or treating nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and/or liver fibrosis, and/or reducing the risks of liver cancer in subjects, such as HIV-infected subjects, using a GHRH molecule, e.g., trans-3-hexenoyl-GHRH.sub.(1-44)-NH.sub.2, or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt thereof. The subjects may have particular pathological features such as liver fibrosis, a hepatic fat fraction (HFF) of at least about 10%, serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels of at least about 30 U/L, and/or a NAFLD Activity Score (NAS) of at least 4 or 5.

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