Background Among people with HIV (PWH), sex-differences in presentations of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) may be influenced by differences in coronary plaque parameters, immune/inflammatory biomarkers, or relationships therein.
Methods REPRIEVE, a primary ASCVD prevention trial, enrolled antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated PWH. At entry, a subset of U.S. participants underwent coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) and immune phenotyping (N = 755 CTA; N = 725 CTA + immune). We characterized sex-differences in coronary plaque and immune/inflammatory biomarkers and compared immune-plaque relationships by sex. Unless noted otherwise, analyses adjust for ASCVD risk score.
Results The primary analysis cohort included 631 males and 124 females. ASCVD risk was higher among males (median 4.9% vs. 2.1%), while obesity rates were higher among females (48% vs. 21%). Prevalence of any plaque and of plaque with either ≥1 visible noncalcified portion or vulnerable features (NC/V-P) was lower among females overall and controlling for relevant risk factors [RR(95% CI) for any plaque 0.67 (0.50, 0.92); RR for NC/V-P 0.71 (0.51, 1.00) (adjusted for ASCVD risk score and BMI)]. Females showed higher levels of IL-6, hs-CRP, and D-dimer and lower levels of Lp-PLA2 (P < 0.001 for all). Higher levels of Lp-PLA2, MCP-1, and oxLDL were associated with higher plaque (P < 0.02) and NC/V-P prevalence, with no differences by sex. Among females but not males, D-dimer was associated with higher prevalence of NC/V-P (interaction P = 0.055).
Conclusions Among U.S. PWH, females had a lower prevalence of plaque and NC/V-P, as well as differences in key immune/inflammatory biomarkers. Immune-plaque relationships differed by sex for D-dimer, but not other tested parameters.