Omega-3 fatty acid therapy reduces triglycerides and interleukin-6 in hypertriglyeridemic HIV patients

T. S. Metkus, J. Timpone, D. Leaf, M. Bidwell Goetz, W. S. Harris, Todd T. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives: Cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis are common in HIV-infected patients and residual systemic inflammation is thought to contribute to both of these disorders. We performed a randomized placebo-controlled trial of omega-3-acid (O3A) ethyl esters in HIV-infected patients with hypertriglyceridaemia, hypothesizing that O3A would decrease serum levels of triglycerides, markers of systemic inflammation, and markers of bone turnover. Methods: HIV-infected patients (n=48 recruited at three sites) with CD4 count >200cells/μL, suppressed viral load, and triglycerides >200mg/dL were randomized to placebo or 3.6g/d of O3A. Fasting lipid profiles and markers of inflammation and bone turnover were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks of treatment. Results: Baseline HIV status, lipid profile, bone metabolism and cardiovascular risk factors were similar between the groups. Inflammatory markers were similar between the treatment groups at baseline, except for interleukin (IL)-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, which were higher in the O3A group. The concentration of triglycerides in patients receiving O3A decreased by a median (interquartile range (IQR)) of -34 (-149, 9.5) mg/dL vs. a median increase of 46.5 (-51, 123) mg/dL in the placebo group (P=0.01). The median percentage change in IL-6 was greater in the O3A group compared with the placebo group [-39% (-63, 12%) vs. 29% (10, 177%), respectively; P=0.006]. Similar results were observed for TNF-α, but not other inflammatory or bone turnover markers. Conclusions: O3A ethyl esters decreased the concentrations of triglycerides, IL-6 and TNF-α in patients with well-controlled HIV infection and hypertriglyceridaemia. Larger studies are required to confirm these findings and investigate their clinical significance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-539
Number of pages10
JournalHIV Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Dyslipidemia
  • HIV
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Systemic inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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