BACKGROUND - Therapy with some HIV protease inhibitors (PI) contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus, by inhibition of insulin-sensitive glucose transporters. Atazanavir (ATV) is a new PI with substantially less in vitro effect on glucose transport than observed with other PI, including lopinavir (LPV) or ritonavir (RTV).
METHODS - Randomized, double-blind, crossover study of the effect of 5 days of administering ATV, lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) or placebo on insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in 30 healthy HIV-negative subjects. Each subject was studied on two of three possible treatments with a wash-out period between treatments.
RESULTS - The mean insulin-stimulated glucose disposal (mg/min per kg body weight) per unit insulin (microU/ml) (M/I) was 9.88, 9.80 and 7.52 for placebo, ATV and LPV/r, respectively (SEM, 0.84 for all). There was no significant difference between ATV and placebo. The M/I for LPV/r was 23% lower than that for ATV (P = 0.010) and 24% lower than that for placebo (P = 0.008). The mean glycogen storage rates were 3.85, 4.00 and 2.54 mg/min per kg for placebo, ATV and LPV/r, respectively (SEM, 0.39 for all). There was no significant difference between ATV and placebo. The glycogen storage rate for LPV/r was 36% lower than ATV (P = 0.003) and 34% lower than placebo (P = 0.006).
CONCLUSIONS - ATV given to healthy subjects for 5 days did not affect insulin sensitivity, while LPV/r induced insulin resistance. This observation is consistent with differential in vitro effects of these PI on glucose transport. Further data are needed to assess clinical implications for body composition.