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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relationships among brain metabolites, cognitive function, and viral loads in antiretroviral-naïve HIV patients.

This study aims to determine the relationship among cerebral metabolite concentrations (on proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy or (1)H MRS), cognitive function, and clinical variables ( CD4, plasma and CSF viral loads, and lipids) in antiretroviral medication-nai;ve HIV patients. We hypothesized that the probable glial markers myo-inositol [MI] and choline compounds [CHO] would correlate with cognitive function, CD4 count, and viral loads, but not with serum lipids. Forty-five antiretroviral-drug-nai;ve HIV patients and 25 control subjects were evaluated. Frontal lobe [MI], [CHO], and total creatine [CR] were elevated, while basal ganglia [CR] were decreased, with increasing dementia severity. As a group, HIV patients showed slowing on fine motor (Grooved Pegboard) and psychomotor function (Trails A & B), and deficits on executive function (Stroop tasks). Lower CD4 counts and elevated plasma viral loads were associated with elevated frontal white matter [MI], which in turn correlated with the Stroop tasks. These findings suggest that systemic factors (resulting from suppressed immune function and higher plasma viral load) may lead to glial proliferation (elevated [MI], [CHO], and [CR]) in the frontal white matter, which in turn may contribute to deficits on executive function in HIV. Studying antiretroviral-nai;ve patients minimized the confounding effects of antiretroviral treatment on the clinical, MRS, and neuropsychological variables, and allowed for a more accurate assessment of the relationships among these measurements. Metabolite concentrations, rather than metabolite ratios, should be measured since [CR], a commonly used reference for metabolite ratios, varies with disease severity in both frontal lobe and basal ganglia.[1]


  1. Relationships among brain metabolites, cognitive function, and viral loads in antiretroviral-naïve HIV patients. Chang, L., Ernst, T., Witt, M.D., Ames, N., Gaiefsky, M., Miller, E. Neuroimage (2002) [Pubmed]
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