People living with HIV (PLWH) have chronic immune activation and increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Activation of monocytes and T lymphocytes causes up-regulation of glucose transporter-1 (GLUT1) for efficient function. PLWH have an increased percentage of GLUT1-expressing monocytes and T lymphocytes, but it is unclear if these cells are associated with CVD. We evaluated expression of GLUT1 and CD38 on monocyte and T lymphocyte populations from HIV-infected women with subclinical CVD.
Participants with >75 percentile (n=15) and <25 percentile (n = 15) age-adjusted intima-media thickness (IMT) at the right common carotid artery and bifurcation were identified from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Groups were matched by age, race/ethnicity, smoking status, and CD4 count. All women were receiving suppressive antiretroviral therapy except for one high and one low IMT participant. Monocyte and T lymphocyte populations were evaluated for GLUT1 and CD38 expression using flow cytometry.
Intermediate monocytes from high IMT women had significantly increased expression of GLUT1 (310 MFI vs. 210 MFI, p = 0.024) (66.4% vs. 48.5%, p = 0.031) and CD38 (339 MFI vs. 211 MFI, p = 0.002) (10.5% vs. 3.8%, p = 0.0002) compared to women with low IMT. High and low IMT participants showed no differences in GLUT1 or CD38 expression on classical monocytes, non-classical monocytes, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes.
GLUT1-expressing intermediate monocytes are elevated in HIV-infected women with subclinical CVD. These cells may contribute to development of CVD in PLWH and could be a novel target to limit inflammation.
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