Targeted plasma proteomics reveals upregulation of distinct inflammatory pathways in people living with HIV

Graphical abstract
Elsevier, iScience, Volume 25, 21 October 2022
Vadaq N., van de Wijer L., van Eekeren L.E., Koenen H., de Mast Q., Joosten L.A.B. et al.

Despite antiretroviral therapy (ART), people living with HIV (PLHIV) display persistent inflammation leading to non-AIDS-related co-morbidities. To better understand underlying mechanisms, we compared targeted plasma inflammatory protein concentration (n = 92) between a cohort of 192 virally suppressed PLHIV, who were followed-up for five years, and 416 healthy controls (HC). Findings were validated in an independent cohort of 649 virally suppressed PLHIV and 98 HC. Compared to HC, PLHIV exhibited distinctively upregulated inflammatory proteins, including mucosal defense chemokines, CCR5 and CXCR3 ligands, and growth factors. Unsupervised clustering of inflammatory proteins clearly differentiated PLHIV with low (n = 123) and high inflammation (n = 65), the latter having a 3.4 relative risk (95% confidence interval 1.2–9.8) to develop malignancies and trend for cardiovascular events during a 5-year follow-up. The best protein predictors discriminating the two inflammatory endotypes were PD-L1, VEGFA, LAP TGF β-1, and TNFRSF9. Our data provide insights into co-morbidities associated inflammatory changes in PLHIV on long-term ART.