The recent development of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has drastically improved the life expectancy of AIDS patients, by reducing infection-related mortality. However, the prolongation of the lives of HIV-1-infected patients and / or the long-term use of novel, potent antiviral agents have generated a score of new problems and complications. Among them is the AIDS-related insulin resistance and lipodystrophy syndrome, which is observed in 30-80% of AIDS patients who are well controlled by HAART. This syndrome is associated with severe metabolic disturbances, such as carbohydrate intolerance / diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia, which cause atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The etiology of this syndrome appears to be multi-factorial; other than the anti-viral drugs, hypercytokinemia and the HIV-1 infection itself, including the virally encoded molecules Vpr and Tat, could contribute to the development of these pathologic changes or increase the vulnerability of patients to the adverse effect of the therapeutic compounds. In this article, we review our current understanding of the pathogenesis and therapeutic approach of this newly emerging AIDS-associated metabolic syndrome.
Keywords: hiv-1, protease inhibitors, nucleotide and nonnucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors, mitochondria dysfunction, glucocorticoid hypersensitivity
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