Objectives: Plasma levels of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), a major regulator of cholesterol metabolism, have been reported to have an increasing trend in people living with HIV (PLWH) compared with controls. We assessed the impact of different antiretroviral (ARV) regimens on plasma PCSK9 levels as well as plasma lipids, systemic inflammation and immunovirological parameters. Methods: Eighty HIV-positive ARV therapy (ART)-naïve PLWH and 40 uninfected controls were retrospectively enrolled. At baseline and 3, 6 and 12 months after ART initiation, plasma PCSK9 levels, lipids, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), HIV-1 RNA levels and CD4 T-cell count were measured. Results: Baseline PCSK9 levels were significantly more elevated in PLWH and were associated with HIV-1 RNA levels (P < 0.001), CD4 T-cell counts (P < 0.001), triglycerides (P < 0.001) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (P < 0.001), but not with total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and lipoprotein(a) levels. The prescription of ART was paralleled by significant decreases in plasma PCSK9 and hs-CRP levels, and increases in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoprotein(a), independent of regimen. Conclusions: PCSK9 levels, along with systemic inflammation, were progressively reduced following the initiation of an effective ART. However, at the end of the study PCSK9 levels remained higher than in controls and did not correlate with any of the lipid variables.
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