Novel Therapy for Glucose Intolerance in HIV Disease (Chromium picolinate)

This research is being funded by NCCAM, the federal government’s chief dietary supplement research agency. It builds on past knowledge about the role of an inexpensive dietary supplement, chromium, for management of diabetes (insulin resistance/glucose intolerance). This research study is directed especially to the case of people with HIV on multi-drug regimens, who experience insulin resistance/glucose intolerance at a high rate. 

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Investigator: Dr. Marie C Gelato, State University of New York at Stony Brook 

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Multi-drug regimens in HIV disease are associated with an incidence of insulin resistance of at least 50%. Insulin resistance is associated with the development of dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. This constellation of metabolic abnormalities is known to cause accelerated atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes. The current guidelines from the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Endocrinologists recommends screening for glucose intolerance and treatment for patients at high risk of diabetes. This proposal seeks to establish a treatment option for insulin resistance / glucose intolerance in HIV/AIDS prior to the transition to overt diabetes. Chromium picolinate is a dietary supplement that has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and, in a preliminary study, in HIV+ patients. This dietary supplement has a wide margin of safety and may provide substantial therapeutic benefit without serious side-effects. This proposal will test the hypothesis that chromium picolinate improves insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by increasing the insulin receptor-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1, resulting in increased activity of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. The hypothesis will be addressed in two specific aims. Specific Aim 1 will assess quantitative improvements in insulin-mediated glucose disposal in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of chromium supplementation with 1000 microgram (19.2 mu/mol) of chromium as chromium picolinate, over a two month course of therapy of subjects with glucose intolerance (defined with an oral glucose tolerance test, OGTT). Both safety and efficacy (improved glucose disposal with a hyperinsulineminc, euglycemic clamp and insulin secretion, OGTT) will be evaluated. The cellular mechanism for improved insulin sensitivity with chromium supplementation will be determined in Specific Aim 2 by assessing the effect of chromium supplementation on the insulin-stimulated activity of insulin receptor substrate-1-associated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in biopsies of adipose tissue. Thus, this research will document the therapeutic benefit of chromium supplementation for insulin resistance / glucose intolerance in HIV disease and will provide a mechanistic framework to explain how chromium supplementation enhances insulin action.

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