Obesity in HIV infection: Host-pathogen interaction

Stefano Savinelli, Neil E. Wrigley Kelly, Eoin R. Feeney, Donal B. O'Shea, Andrew E. Hogan, Edgar T. Overton, Alan L. Landay, Patrick W. Mallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective:Both obesity and HIV infection are characterized by a state of chronic inflammation associated with increased morbidity and mortality. This review aims to assess the available literature on immune dysregulation in obesity and people with HIV infection (PWH).Design:A systematic review of peer-reviewed literature.Methods:We conducted a systematic literature search of PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and international conference abstracts for articles on the epidemiology of obesity in the general population and in PWH and the pathogenesis of obesity with a focus on inflammation and immune activation.Results:Of the 631 articles selected after title review, 490 met the inclusion criteria and 90 were included in the final selection. The selected studies highlight the increasing prevalence of obesity in PWH and a substantial role for antiretroviral treatment (ART) in its development. Pathogenesis of obesity and its associated inflammation derives from disturbances in adipose tissue (AT) immune function, focused on T-cell and macrophage function, with a switch to pro-inflammatory immune phenotype and resulting increases in pro-inflammatory chemokines, which contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome. Although dysregulation of these pathways is seen in both obesity and HIV, there remains a lack of human studies on AT inflammation in HIV.Conclusion:Obesity is an emerging comorbidity in PWH, with a substantial overlap in immune dysregulation patterns seen in both conditions. How this immune dysfunction impacts on development of metabolic complications for both obesity and HIV infection, and whether targeting of AT-derived inflammation will improve outcomes in PWH requires further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1491
Number of pages15
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • abdominal obesity
  • HIV
  • immune activation
  • inflammation
  • obesity
  • weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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