Plasma acylcarnitines and progression of carotid artery atherosclerosis in HIV infection

Simin Hua, Justin M. Scott, David B. Hanna, Sabina A. Haberlen, Sanjiv J. Shah, Howard N. Hodis, Alan L. Landay, Jason M. Lazar, Jorge R. Kizer, Bing Yu, Wendy S. Post, Kathryn Anastos, Robert C. Kaplan, Clary B. Clish, Qibin Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To evaluate plasma acylcarnitine profiles and their relationships with progression of carotid artery atherosclerosis among individuals with and without HIV infection.Design:Prospective cohort studies of 499 HIV-positive and 206 HIV-negative individuals from the Women's Interagency HIV Study and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study.Methods:Twenty-four acylcarnitine species were measured in plasma samples of participants at baseline. Carotid artery plaque was assessed using repeated B-mode carotid artery ultrasound imaging in 2004-2013. We examined the associations of individual and aggregate short-chain (C2-C7), medium-chain (C8-C14) and long-chain acylcarnitines (C16-C26) with incident carotid artery plaque over 7 years.Results:Among 24 acylcarnitine species, C8-carnitines and C20:4-carnitines showed significantly lower levels comparing HIV-positive to HIV-negative individuals (false discovery rate adjusted P<0.05); and C20-carnitines and C26-carnitines showed significantly higher levels in HIV positive using antiretroviral therapy than those without antiretroviral therapy (false discovery rate adjusted P<0.05). In the univariate analyses, higher aggregated short-chain and long-chain acylcarnitine scores were associated with increased risk of carotid artery plaque [risk ratios (RRs)=1.22 (95% confidence interval 1.02-1.45) and 1.20 (1.02-1.41) per SD increment, respectively]. The association for the short-chain acylcarnitine score remained significant [RR=1.23 (1.05-1.44)] after multivariate adjustment (including traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors). This association was more evident in HIV-positive individuals without persistent viral suppression [RR=1.37 (1.11-1.69)] compared with those with persistent viral suppression during follow-up [RR=1.03 (0.76-1.40)] or HIV-negative individuals [RR=1.02 (0.69-1.52)].Conclusion:In two HIV cohorts, plasma levels of most acylcarnitines were not significantly different between HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals. However, higher levels of aggregated short-chain acylcarnitines were associated with progression of carotid artery atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1052
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • acylcarnitines
  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiovascular disease
  • carotid artery
  • HIV infection
  • metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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