Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Adriana Campa

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Fatma Huffman

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Marianna Baum

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Juan Liuzzi

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Wensong Wu

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


HIV infection, HIV/HCV co-infection, liver fibrosis, alcohol, AUDIT, cocaine, body mass index, FIB-4 index, oxidative stress, hepatocyte apoptosis, transforming growth factor-beta1, microbial endotoxin, malondialdehyde, glutathione, MDA, GSH, TGF-β1, CK-18, LPS

Date of Defense



Liver disease is now a leading cause of non-AIDS related morbidity and mortality in people living with HIV (PLWH). The present study investigated the interplay between adverse lifestyle factors that are prevalent in PLWH, biological mediators of liver pathogenesis, and a non-invasive measure of liver fibrosis (FIB-4 index) in HIV mono- and HIV/HCV co-infected individuals.

The results of this investigation in the Miami Adult Studies of HIV (MASH) cohort show that the odds of liver fibrosis progression significantly increased over two years for HIV mono-infected participants who drank alcohol hazardously (OR 3.038, P=0.048), and had BMI ≥ 28kg/m2 (OR 2.934, P=0.027). Cocaine use reduced the odds of advancing one stage of liver fibrosis (OR 0.228, P=0.038), but an interaction between high BMI and cocaine use slightly raised the odds by 4.8% of liver fibrosis progression (P=0.072). HIV/HCV co-infected participants showed interactions between cocaine use and high BMI with increased FIB-4 stage (OR 4.985, P= 0.034), however no lifestyle factors could independently predict FIB-4 stage in this group.

Biological mediators previously associated with liver pathogenesis were associated with higher FIB-4 index over 2 years in a subset of (n=65) HIV mono-infected participants. Plasma measures of oxidative stress (% oxidized glutathione: OR 4.342, P= 0.046), hepatocyte-specific apoptosis (Cytokeratin-18 (CK-18): OR 1.008, P=0.021), and microbial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide (LPS): OR 1.098, P= 0.097) were associated with having higher odds of progressing at least one stage of FIB-4 over 2 years.

The same biological mediators were also associated with liver fibrosis within HIV infected people who also had a harmful lifestyle characteristic. FIB-4 index was significantly associated with % oxidized glutathione in obese subjects (β=0.563, P=0.018), TGF-β1 in cocaine users (β=0.858, P=0.027), and CK-18 in HIV infected individuals without any adverse lifestyle factors (β=0.435, P=0.015).

Taken together, the findings of these studies describe interrelationships between HIV disease status, lifestyle, and biological mediators of liver fibrosis. The results show interactions between lifestyle conditions and the mediators of liver fibrosis may account for higher rates of liver disease in HIV infection. Research is warranted to develop personalized therapeutics for PLWH to curb the burden of liver disease.





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