Microvascular Endothelial Function and Aging in Patients with HIV/AIDS

Dan Wang, MD, PhD

September 1, 2011

The number of older adults with HIV/AIDS is increasing. In general, the aging process is associated with complex modifications in various organ systems, including the cardiovascular system. Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) plays a role in the regulation of microvascular function by being a source of nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandins (PGs), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This study will test the novel hypothesis that premature cardiovascular disease (CVD) in HIV/AIDS patients may be attributed, at least in part, to signaling pathways that emanate from or are influenced by PVAT, which is associated with aging. We will recruit young participants with/without HIV/AIDS and older participants with/without HIV/AIDS from women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) and isolate subcutaneous microvessels from gluteal skin biopsies to measure: 1) microvascular function, 2) effects of PVAT on endothelial function, and 3) the roles of NO, PGs, and H2S from PVAT in microvascular function. These studies will explore, for the first time, the roles of NO, PGs, and H2S in PVAT signaling as it relates to human microvascular dysfunction in the context of HIV/AIDS and the role of aging in microvascular dysfunction regulated by those signaling pathways. The primary goal of this project is to obtain preliminary data to develop an NIH-RO1 grant proposal to study microvascular function and PVAT signaling in larger subgroups of patients with HIV/AIDS.