Purpose: Highly active antiretroviral therapy has improved the prognosis of human immuno deficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected individuals, but it has been associated with the development of metabolic and fat distribution abnormalities known as the lipodystrophy syndrome. This study tested the hypothesis that aerobic exercise training added to a low-lipid diet may have favorable effects in HIV-1-infected individuals with dyslipidemia and lipodystrophy.
Methods: Thirty healthy subjects, carriers of HIV-1, with dyslipidemia and lipodystrophy, all of whom were using protease inhibitors and/or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, were randomly assigned to participate in either a 12-wk program of aerobic exercise or a 12-wk stretching and relaxation program. All subjects received recommendations for a low-lipid diet. Before and after intervention, peak oxygen uptake, body composition, CD4, viral load, lipid profile, and plasma endothelin-1 levels were measured.
Results: Peak oxygen uptake increased significantly in the diet and exercise group (mean ± SD: 32 ± 5 mL·kg−1·min−1 before; 40 ± 8 mL·kg−1·min−1 after) but not in the diet only group (34 ± 7 mL·kg−1·min−1 before; 35 ± 8 mL·kg−1·min−1 after). Body weight, body fat, and waist-to-hip ratio decreased significantly and similarly in the two groups. There were no significant changes in immunologic variables in either group. Likewise, plasma triglycerides, total cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol levels did not change significantly in either group. Plasma endothelin-1 levels were elevated in both groups and presented no significant changes during the study.
Conclusion: HIV-seropositive individuals with lipodystrophy and dyslipidemia submitted to a short-term intervention of low-lipid diet and aerobic exercise training are able to increase their functional capacity without any consistent changes in plasma lipid levels.