Insomnia and Mechanistic Pathways to Atherosclerotic CVD in HIV
Background: While insomnia has been identified as a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease in HIV (HIV-CVD), research on the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms is scarce. Methods: We examined associations between 0-to-12-week changes in sleep disturbance and the concurrent 0-to-12-week changes and the subsequent 12-to-24-week changes in markers of systemic inflammation, coagulation, and endothelial dysfunction among people living with HIV (n = 33-38) enrolled in a depression clinical trial. Sleep disturbance was measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Inflammatory markers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) and coagulation marker D-dimer were determined from blood specimens; endothelial dysfunction marker brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) was determined by ultrasound. 0-to-12-week variables were calculated as 12-week visit minus baseline, and 12-to-24-week variables were calculated as 24-week minus 12-week. We constructed multivariate linear regression models for each outcome adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, Framingham risk score, and baseline depressive symptoms. Results: We did not observe statistically significant associations between 0-to-12-week changes in sleep disturbance and 0-to-12-week or 12-to-24-week changes in IL-6, CRP, D-dimer, or FMD. However, we did observe potentially meaningful associations, likely undetected due to low power. For 0-to-12-weeks, every 1-standard deviation (SD) increase, or worsening, in the sleep disturbance change score was associated with a 0.41 pg/mL and 80 ng/mL decease in IL-6 and D-dimer, respectively. For 12-to-24-weeks, every 1-SD increase in sleep disturbance change score was associated with a 0.63 mg/L, 111 ng/mL, and 0.82% increase in CRP, D-dimer, and FMD, respectively. Conclusion: We observed potentially meaningful, though not statistically significant, associations between changes in sleep disturbance and changes in biological mechanisms underlying HIV-CVD over time. Some associations were in the expected direction, but others were not. Additional studies are needed that utilize larger samples and validated, comprehensive assessments of insomnia.