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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2017 Oct;33(10):1035-1037. doi: 10.1089/AID.2016.0287. Epub 2017 Jun 20.

Short Communication: HIV Patient Systemic Mitochondrial Respiration Improves with Exercise.

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1 Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science, College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa , Honolulu, Hawaii.
2 Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa , Honolulu, Hawaii.
3 Department of Medicine, Hawaii Center for AIDS, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa , Honolulu, Hawaii.


In HIV-infected individuals, impaired mitochondrial function may contribute to cardiometabolic disease as well as to fatigue and frailty. Aerobic exercise improves total body energy reserves; however, its impact at the cellular level is unknown. We assessed alterations in cellular bioenergetics in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) before and after a 12-week aerobic exercise study in sedentary HIV-infected subjects on stable antiretroviral therapy who successfully completed a 12-week aerobic exercise program. In this prospective study, participants underwent supervised 20-40 min of light aerobic exercise (walking or jogging) performed three times per week for 12 weeks, gradually increasing to maintain an intensity of 50%-80% of heart rate reserve. Maximal aerobic capacity (VO2MAX) was assessed by a graded exercise test on a cycle ergometer before and after completion of the study. PBMC from compliant subjects (attended at least 70% of exercise sessions) were assessed for mitochondrial respiration using the Seahorse XF24 Bio-Analyzer. Seven of 24 enrolled subjects were compliant with the exercise regimen. In these individuals, a significant increase (p = .04) in VO2MAX over 12 weeks was found with a median increase of 14%. During the same interval, a 2.45-fold increase in PBMC mitochondrial respiratory capacity (p = .04), a 5.65-fold increase in spare respiratory capacity (p = .01), and a 3.15-fold (p = .04) increase in nonmitochondrial respiration was observed. Aerobic exercise improves respiration at the cellular level. The diagnostic and prognostic value of such improved cellular respiration in the setting of chronic HIV warrants further investigation.


VO2MAX; aerobic; cardiovascular fitness

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