HIV/HAART-associated oxidative stress is detectable by metabonomics
Chronic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, separately and in combination with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is closely associated with oxidative stress (OS). Most studies demonstrating redox imbalances in HIV-infected individuals have done so using conventional biochemical methodologies. The limited simultaneous detection of multiple OS markers within one sample is a major drawback of these methodologies and can be addressed through the use of metabonomics. HIV-metabonomic studies utilizing biofluids from HAART cohorts as the investigative source, are on the increase. Data from many of these studies identified metabolic markers indicative of HIV-induced OS, usually as an outcome of an untargeted metabonomics study. Untargeted studies cast a wide net for any and all detectable metabolites in complex mixtures. Given the prevalence of OS during HIV infection and antiviral treatment, it is perhaps not surprising that indicators of this malady would become evident during metabolite identification. At times, targeted studies for specific (non-OS) metabolites would also yield OS markers as an outcome. This review examines the findings of these studies by first providing the necessary background information on OS and the main ways in which free radicals/reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced during OS, cause biomolecular damage. This is followed by information on the biomarkers which come about as a result of free radical damage and the techniques used for assaying these stress indicators. The established links between elevated ROS and lowered antioxidants during HIV infection and the subsequent use of HAART is then presented followed by a review of the OS markers detected in HIV metabonomic studies to date. We identify gaps in HIV/HAART-associated OS research and finally suggest how these research gaps can be addressed through metabonomic analysis, specifically targeting the multiple markers of HIV-induced OS.