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© 2018 Saracino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background In vitro, gp120 of both X4 and R5 HIV-1 strains activates human hepatic stellate cells, but if it can promote liver fibrosis in vivo is unknown. We aimed to evaluate if patients carrying X4 or R5 strains have a different liver fibrosis (LF) progression over time. Methods A total of 1,137 HIV-infected patients in ICONA cohort (21% females, 7% HCV co-infected) with an available determination of HIV-1 co-receptor tropism (CRT), a Fibrosis-4 Index for Liver Fibrosis (FIB-4) <3.25 and at least one-year follow-up were included. CRT was assessed by gp120 sequencing on plasma RNA and geno2pheno algorithm (10% false positive rate) or by Trofile. LF was assessed by means of FIB-4. LF progression was defined as an absolute score increase or a transition to higher fibrosis stratum and/or occurrence of liver-related clinical events. Results A total of 249 (22%) patients carried X4 strains, which were associated with older age, lower CD4 count, lower nadir CD4, and intravenous drug use. Overall, X4 and R5 patients had similar baseline FIB-4 scores and similar mean FIB-4 slope after a median follow-up of 35 months. There was no difference between X4 and R5 for time to LF progression (p = 0.925). Estimated risk of LF at 24 months (95% CI) after baseline in X4 and R5 was 10.6% (8.3–12.9) and 9.9% (5.9–14.0), respectively. Age, HCV co-infection, diabetes, HIV-duration, HIV-RNA>100.000 cp/mL, antiretroviral therapy exposure were associated with LF progression at multivariate analysis. Conclusions A slight LF progression over time was observed in HIV-infected patients. No difference was demonstrated for X4 and R5 HIV-1 strains in accelerating LF evolution.

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