A new study says that HIV has a “significant” effect on the aging process

The doctor examines the man

A new study says HIV infection has an “early and large” effect on the aging process.

The researchers found that this negative effect was entrenched within the first 2-3 years of infection. They warned that people infected with the virus could lose up to five years of their life even during treatment.

It helps explain why some people with HIV are more likely to develop heart disease, cancer, and other age-related problems.

The study was conducted by scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Posted in iScience.

The study looked at blood samples from 102 men before infection, and then 2-3 years after infection. These results were compared to blood samples taken from men during a similar period who had not contracted the virus.

The study specifically looked at changes at the DNA level.

DNA and epigenetic aging

Long chains of proteins make up the DNA found in all human cells. DNA is essentially programming your cells, encoding the functions they perform.

Over time, as our cells regenerate, these long strands of DNA undergo a process of degradation, known as methylation. This means that the cells in our bodies do not function as if we were younger. We become more susceptible to potential illness or weakness.

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What constitutes “aging” biology is complex. However, it is known that certain parts of DNA are more susceptible to this process over the years. This is known as Epigenetics aging.

In this study, people with HIV showed a “significant acceleration of age” in these DNA regions. These changes occurred, “just before infection and terminated two to three years later, in the absence of effective ART. According to a press release about the study, no age-matched acceleration was observed in uninfected participants over the same time period.”

“Our access to rare and well-characterized samples allowed us to design this study in a way that leaves no doubt about the role of HIV in invoking the biological hallmarks of premature aging,” said lead researcher Beth Jamieson, a professor in the Department of Hematology. and oncology at the Geffen School.

“Our long-term goal is to determine if we can use any of these signatures to predict whether an individual is at increased risk for specific disease outcomes associated with aging, thus revealing new targets for intervention therapies.”

Treatment partially reverses the effect of aging

This isn’t the first research looking at HIV and aging. In May, a study in The Lancet found that “persistent HIV infection” is linked to DNA aging.

In other words, the biological age of people infected with the virus appears to be greater than their actual age.

This was more pronounced in those who had gone for some time before starting treatment. When treatment was started, it took up to two years for the effect to be partially reversed.

I found that study biological The age of the injured should be 1-3 years older than their age actual age.

QWERTY I contacted Dr. Jamieson from the University of California to ask her more about her new study. She said those diagnosed soon after infection and put on treatment quickly are likely to have the least concern.

“We haven’t directly tested the effects of early HIV treatment on epigenetic lifespan, but when taken with the results of two other studies, I think early treatment is more likely to halt epigenetic aging.”

She believes this latest study is “another strong argument for early detection and treatment of HIV.”

This study shows very clearly that HIV itself can alter the epigenetic rate of aging, increasing a person’s long-term risk for a shorter healthy period.

“I also think that another important aspect of this work is that this study gives us a much clearer picture of the overall effects of HIV infection on the body. We are pursuing this to better understand the relationship between these epigenetic changes and health outcomes for people who are infected. treated with HIV.

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Avoiding age-related health problems with HIV

Since people with HIV may be at higher risk for heart, kidney and liver disease, what advice would Jamison give to help avoid confusion? Is it simply a matter of adopting a healthy lifestyle and seeing your doctor regularly?

She replied, “One of the things we do know is that our environment and our experiences do indeed influence epigenetics, so improving epigenetic aging is not out of the question.”

“The first thing that comes to mind is that people with HIV should work with their doctors to make sure they are taking medications that keep the virus suppressed.

Other than that advice, we have to borrow from all the advice given to people who don’t have HIV. This is to do exactly what I suggested. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, stop smoking, exercise and get regular checkups. We know that smoking has a significant impact on the epigenetic landscape so smokers may want to take that into account.”

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