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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 103063, 7 pages
Review Article

The Pathophysiology of HIV-/HAART-Related Metabolic Syndrome Leading to Cardiovascular Disorders: The Emerging Role of Adipokines

12nd Department of Cardiology, “Attikon” University Hospital of Athens, Haidari 12462, Greece
2Department of Cardiology, “Bodosakio” General Hospital of Ptolemaida, Ptolemaida 50200, Greece

Received 5 July 2011; Accepted 1 November 2011

Academic Editor: Yingmei Zhang

Copyright © 2012 John Palios et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) frequently demonstrate metabolic syndrome (MS) associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular disorders. Characteristics of HIV infection, such as immunodeficiency, viral load, and duration of the disease, in addition to the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) have been suggested to induce MS in these patients. It is well documented that MS involves a number of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, like glucose, lipids, and arterial blood pressure abnormalities, leading to extensive atherogenic arterial wall changes. Nevertheless, the above traditional cardiovascular risk factors merely explain the exacerbated cardiovascular risk in MS. Nowadays, the adipose-tissue derivatives, known as adipokines, have been suggested to contribute to chronic inflammation and the MS-related cardiovascular disease. In view of a novel understanding on how adipokines affect the pathogenesis of HIV/HAART-related MS and cardiovascular complications, this paper focuses on the interaction of the metabolic pathways and the potential cardiovascular consequences. Based on the current literature, we suggest adipokines to have a role in the pathogenesis of the HIV/HAART-related MS. It is crucial to understand the pathophysiology of the HIV/HAART-related MS and apply therapeutic strategies in order to reduce cardiovascular risk in HIV patients.