HIV Infection, Tenofovir, and Urine α1-Microglobulin: A Cross-sectional Analysis in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study

Vasantha Jotwani*, Rebecca Scherzer, Michelle M. Estrella, Lisa P. Jacobson, Mallory D. Witt, Frank J. Palella, Bernard Macatangay, Michael Bennett, Chirag R. Parikh, Joachim H. Ix, Michael G. Shlipak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) can cause proximal tubular damage and chronic kidney disease in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. Urine α1-microglobulin (A1M), a low-molecular-weight protein indicative of proximal tubular dysfunction, may enable earlier detection of TDF-associated tubular toxicity. Study Design Cross-sectional. Setting & Participants 883 HIV-infected and 350 -uninfected men enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Predictors HIV infection and TDF exposure. Outcome Urine A1M level. Results Urine A1M was detectable in 737 (83%) HIV-infected and 202 (58%) -uninfected men (P < 0.001). Among HIV-infected participants, 573 (65%) were current TDF users and 112 (13%) were past TDF users. After multivariable adjustment including demographics, traditional kidney disease risk factors, and estimated glomerular filtration rate, HIV infection was associated with 136% (95% CI, 104%-173%) higher urine A1M levels and 1.5-fold (95% CI, 1.3- to 1.6-fold) prevalence of detectable A1M. When participants were stratified by TDF exposure, HIV infection was associated with higher adjusted A1M levels, by 164% (95% CI, 127%-208%) among current users, 124% (95% CI, 78%-183%) among past users, and 76% (95% CI, 45%-115%) among never users. Among HIV-infected participants, each year of cumulative TDF exposure was associated with 7.6% (95% CI, 5.4%-9.9%) higher A1M levels in fully adjusted models, a 4-fold effect size relative to advancing age (1.8% [95% CI, 0.9%-2.7%] per year). Each year since TDF treatment discontinuation was associated with 4.9% (95% CI, −9.4%-−0.2%) lower A1M levels among past users. Limitations Results may not be generalizable to women. Conclusions HIV-infected men had higher urine A1M levels compared with HIV-uninfected men. Among HIV-infected men, cumulative TDF exposure was associated with incrementally higher A1M levels, whereas time since TDF treatment discontinuation was associated with progressively lower A1M levels. Urine A1M appears to be a promising biomarker for detecting and monitoring TDF-associated tubular toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-581
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • HIV infection
  • Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS)
  • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)
  • antiretroviral (ARV) medication
  • biomarker
  • kidney damage
  • nephrotoxicity
  • proximal tubular dysfunction
  • tubular toxicity
  • urine α-microglobulin (A1M)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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