Omega-3 fatty acid therapy reduces triglycerides and interleukin-6 in hypertriglyeridemic HIV patients
Cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis are common in HIV-infected patients and residual systemic inflammation is thought to contribute to both of these disorders. We performed a randomized placebo-controlled trial of omega-3-acid (O3A) ethyl esters in HIV-infected patients with hypertriglyceridaemia, hypothesizing that O3A would decrease serum levels of triglycerides, markers of systemic inflammation, and markers of bone turnover.
HIV-infected patients (n = 48 recruited at three sites) with CD4 count >200 cells/μL, suppressed viral load, and triglycerides >200 mg/dL were randomized to placebo or 3.6 g/d of O3A. Fasting lipid profiles and markers of inflammation and bone turnover were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks of treatment.
Baseline HIV status, lipid profile, bone metabolism and cardiovascular risk factors were similar between the groups. Inflammatory markers were similar between the treatment groups at baseline, except for interleukin (IL)-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, which were higher in the O3A group. The concentration of triglycerides in patients receiving O3A decreased by a median (interquartile range (IQR)) of −34 (−149, 9.5) mg/dL vs. a median increase of 46.5 (−51, 123) mg/dL in the placebo group (P = 0.01). The median percentage change in IL-6 was greater in the O3A group compared with the placebo group [−39% (−63, 12%) vs. 29% (10, 177%), respectively; P = 0.006]. Similar results were observed for TNF-α, but not other inflammatory or bone turnover markers.
O3A ethyl esters decreased the concentrations of triglycerides, IL-6 and TNF-α in patients with well-controlled HIV infection and hypertriglyceridaemia. Larger studies are required to confirm these findings and investigate their clinical significance.