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Redefining Lipodystrophy Syndrome: Risks and Impact on Clinical Decision Making

Lichtenstein, Kenneth A MD

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: August 1st, 2005 - Volume 39 - Issue 4 - p 395-400
doi: 10.1097/01.qai.0000167478.28051.3a
Clinical Science

Lipodystrophy syndrome comprises several conditions (lipoatrophy; lipohypertrophy; mixed syndrome, often associated with dyslipidemia; and insulin resistance). These conditions, though sometimes occurring together, may occur independently, suggesting a complex, multifactorial cause. To elucidate the relative contribution of risk factors of drug, disease, and host to fat redistribution, large epidemiologic studies using multivariate analysis were reviewed. In studies assessing lipoatrophy, the most common statistically significant risk factors were use of specific nucleoside analogues, increasing age, presence of markers of disease severity (CD4/HIV RNA), duration of therapy, and white race. In studies assessing lipohypertrophy, the most common statistically significant risk factors were duration of therapy, markers of disease severity, and protease inhibitor use. The pathogenesis of these disorders is complex, but recent hypotheses and evidence suggest that impairment to adipocyte differentiation, impairment of adipokine regulation, unopposed production of proinflammatory cytokines, dysregulation of 11-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, and mitochondrial toxicity may play a role.

From the University of Colorado Infectious Disease Group Practice, Denver, CO.

Dr. Lichtenstein serves as advisor and speaker for Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead, Merck, and Boehringer Ingelheim; currently receives support for research from Bayer and Serono; and has received support from Abbott Laboratories, Merck, Chiron Corp., Bristol-Myers Squibb, and GlaxoSmithKline.

Received for publication February 27, 2004; accepted April 13, 2005.

Reprints: Kenneth A. Lichtenstein, University of Colorado Infectious Disease Group Practice, 4200 E. Ninth Avenue, B168, Denver, CO 80262 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.