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HIV Med. 2006 Jul;7(5):299-310.

Counteracting muscle wasting in HIV-infected individuals.

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Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA.


HIV-infected persons often experience a loss of lean tissue mass, which includes decreases in skeletal muscle mass. This HIV-associated wasting is significant because it has been associated with accelerated disease progression and increased morbidity. Signalling related to several circulating molecules, including tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and testosterone, has been associated with the aetiology of muscle wasting. Additionally, nutritional status related to malnutrition and specific dietary deficiencies may be involved. In an attempt to counter muscle wasting in HIV-infected persons, treatments have been suggested that target these mechanisms. Nutritional supplementation, cytokine reduction, hormone therapy and resistance exercise training are potential treatments for this condition. Resistance exercise training, which is more easily accessible to this population than other treatments, holds promise in counteracting the process of HIV wasting, as it has been successfully used to increase lean tissue mass in healthy and clinical populations. This review will explore the HIV/AIDS muscle-wasting syndrome, its aetiology, and the treatments used to counteract wasting.

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