According to the multi-process theory of prospective memory (ProM), time-based tasks rely more heavily on strategic processes dependent on prefrontal systems than do event-based tasks. Given the prominent frontostriatal pathophysiology of HIV infection, one would expect HIV-infected individuals to demonstrate greater deficits in time-based versus event-based ProM. However, the two prior studies examining this question have produced variable results. We evaluated this hypothesis in 143 individuals with HIV infection and 43 demographically similar seronegative adults (HIV−) who completed the research version of the Memory for Intentions Screening Test, which yields parallel subscales of time- and event-based ProM. Results showed main effects of HIV serostatus and cue type, but no interaction between serostatus and cue. Planned pair-wise comparisons showed a significant effect of HIV on time-based ProM and a trend-level effect on event-based ProM that was driven primarily by the subset of participants with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Nevertheless, time-based ProM was more strongly correlated with measures of executive functions, attention/working memory, and verbal fluency in HIV-infected persons. Although HIV-associated deficits in time- and event-based ProM appear to be of comparable severity, the cognitive architecture of time-based ProM may be more strongly influenced by strategic monitoring and retrieval processes.
AIDS dementia complex; Episodic memory; Executive functions; Neuropsychological assessment
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders remain common despite use of potent antiretroviral therapy (ART). Ongoing viral replication due to poor distribution of antivirals into the CNS may increase risk for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. This study's objective was to determine penetration of a commonly prescribed antiretroviral drug, efavirenz, into CSF.
CHARTER is an ongoing, North American, multicentre, observational study to determine the effects of ART on HIV-associated neurological disease. Single random plasma and CSF samples were drawn within 1 h of each other from subjects taking efavirenz between September 2003 and July 2007. Samples were assayed by HPLC or HPLC/mass spectrometry with detection limits of 39 ng/mL (plasma) and <0.1 ng/mL (CSF).
Eighty participants (age 44 ± 8 years; 79 ± 15 kg; 20 females) had samples drawn 12.5 ± 5.4 h post-dose. The median efavirenz concentrations after a median of 7 months [interquartile range (IQR) 2–17] of therapy were 2145 ng/mL in plasma (IQR 1384–4423) and 13.9 ng/mL in CSF (IQR 4.1–21.2). The CSF/plasma concentration ratio from paired samples drawn within 1 h of each other was 0.005 (IQR 0.0026–0.0076; n = 69). The CSF/IC50 ratio was 26 (IQR 8–41) using the published IC50 for wild-type HIV (0.51 ng/mL). Two CSF samples had concentrations below the efavirenz IC50 for wild-type HIV.
Efavirenz concentrations in the CSF are only 0.5% of plasma concentrations but exceed the wild-type IC50 in nearly all individuals. Since CSF drug concentrations reflect those in brain interstitial fluids, efavirenz reaches therapeutic concentrations in brain tissue.
CNS; pharmacology; non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious problem among those co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus; however, its impact in the central nervous system (CNS) remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the mechanisms underlying HCV core protein-mediated neurodegeneration. Analysis of human HCV seropositive cases demonstrated widespread damage to neuronal dendritic processes and sustained activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK); analogous pathologies were observed in wild type injected with HCV core protein into the hippocampus. In vitro analysis in neuronal cells exposed to HCV core demonstrated retraction of the neuronal processes in an ERK/Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3)-dependent manner dependent on toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) signaling activation. These results indicate that HCV core protein neurotoxicity may be mediated by the sustained activation of ERK/STAT3 via TLR2-IRAK1 signaling pathway. These pathways provide novel targets for development of neuroprotective treatments for HCV involvement of the CNS.
HCV; TLR2; Neurodegeneration; ERK
The acute and early stages of HIV infection (AEH) are characterized by substantial viral replication, immune activation, and alterations in brain metabolism. However, little is known about the prevalence and predictors of neurocognitive deficits and neuropsychiatric disturbances during this period. The present study examined the impact of demographic, HIV disease, and substance use factors on HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment and self-reported neuropsychiatric distress among 46 antiretroviral-naïve adults with median duration of infection of 75 days, relative to sample a of 21 HIV seronegative (HIV-) adults with comparable demographics and risk factors. Participants were administered a brief neurocognitive battery that was adjusted for demographics and assessed executive functions, memory, psychomotor speed, and verbal fluency, as well as the Profile of Mood States (POMS), a self-report measure of neuropsychiatric distress. Odds ratios revealed that AEH participants were nearly four times more likely than their seronegative counterparts to experience neurocognitive impairment, particularly in the areas of learning and information processing speed. Similarly, AEH was associated with a nearly five-fold increase in the odds of neuropsychiatric distress, most notably in anxiety and depression. Within the AEH sample, HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment was associated with problematic methamphetamine use and higher plasma HIV RNA levels, whereas neuropsychiatric distress was solely associated with high-risk alcohol use. Extending prior neuroimaging findings, results from this study indicate that HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment and neuropsychiatric distress are highly prevalent during AEH and are associated with high-risk substance use.
HIV; substance abuse; viral load; neuropsychiatry; AIDS dementia complex
To describe the prevalence of neurocognitive impairment (NCI) among early diagnosed and managed HIV-infected persons (HIV+) compared to HIV-negative controls.
We performed a cross-sectional study among 200 HIV+ and 50 matched HIV-uninfected (HIV−) military beneficiaries. HIV+ patients were categorized as earlier (<6 years of HIV, no AIDS-defining conditions, and CD4 nadir >200 cells/mm3) or later stage patients (n = 100 in each group); both groups were diagnosed early and had access to care. NCI was diagnosed using a comprehensive battery of standardized neuropsychological tests.
HIV+ patients had a median age of 36 years, 91% were seroconverters (median window of 1.2 years), had a median duration of HIV of 5 years, had a CD4 nadir of 319, had current CD4 of 546 cells/mm3, and 64% were on highly active antiretroviral therapy (initiated 1.3 years after diagnosis at a median CD4 of 333 cells/mm3). NCI was diagnosed among 38 (19%, 95% confidence interval 14%–25%) HIV+ patients, with a similar prevalence of NCI among earlier and later stage patients (18% vs 20%, p = 0.72). The prevalence of NCI among HIV+ patients was similar to HIV− patients.
HIV+ patients diagnosed and managed early during the course of HIV infection had a low prevalence of NCI, comparable to matched HIV-uninfected persons. Early recognition and management of HIV infection may be important in limiting neurocognitive impairment.
The HIV Dementia Scale (HDS) was developed to screen for HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND), but concerns have persisted regarding its substandard sensitivity. This study aimed to examine the classification accuracy of the HDS using raw and norm-based cutpoints, and to evaluate the contribution of the HDS subtests to predicting HAND.
1,580 HIV-infected participants from 6 U.S. sites completed the HDS, and a gold standard neuropsychological battery, on which 51% of participants were impaired. Results: Sensitivity and specificity to HAND using the standard raw HDS cutpoint were 24% and 92%, respectively. The raw HDS subtests of attention, recall, and psychomotor speed significantly contributed to classification of HAND, while visuomotor construction contributed the least. A modified raw cutpoint of 14 yielded sensitivity of 66% and specificity of 61%, with cross-validation. Using norms also significantly improved sensitivity to 69% with a concomitant reduction of specificity to 56%, while the positive predictive value declined from 75% to 62% and negative predictive value improved from 54% to 64%. The HDS showed similarly modest rates of sensitivity and specificity among subpopulations of individuals with minimal comorbidity and successful viral suppression.
Findings indicate that while the HDS is a statistically significant predictor of HAND, particularly when adjusted for demographic factors, its relatively low diagnostic classification accuracy continues to hinder its clinical utility. A raw cutpoint of 14 greatly improved the sensitivity of the previously established raw cutscore, but may be subject to ceiling effects, particularly on repeat assessments.
HIV; cognition; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders; screening measures; HIV dementia scale
This study sought to determine the synergistic effects of age and HIV infection on medical co-morbidity burden, along with its clinical correlates and impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) across the lifespan in HIV. Participants included 262 individuals across four groups stratified by age (≤40 and ≥50 years) and HIV serostatus. Medical co-morbidity burden was assessed using a modified version of the Charlson Co-morbidity Index (CCI). Multiple regression accounting for potentially confounding demographic, psychiatric, and medical factors revealed an interaction between age and HIV infection on the CCI, with the highest medical co-morbidity burden in the older HIV+cohort. Nearly half of the older HIV+group had at least one major medical co-morbidity, with the most prevalent being diabetes (17.8%), syndromic neurocognitive impairment (15.4%), and malignancy (12.2%). Affective distress and detectable plasma viral load were significantly associated with the CCI in the younger and older HIV-infected groups, respectively. Greater co-morbidity burden was uniquely associated with lower physical HRQoL across the lifespan. These findings highlight the prevalence and clinical impact of co-morbidities in older HIV-infected adults and underscore the importance of early detection and treatment efforts that might enhance HIV disease outcomes.
Despite immune recovery in individuals on combination antiretroviral therapy (CART), the frequency of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDs) remains high. Immune recovery is typically achieved after initiation of ART from the nadir, or the lowest historical CD4. The present study evaluated the probability of neuropsychological impairment (NPI) and HAND as a function of CD4 nadir in an HIV-positive cohort.
One thousand five hundred and twenty-five HIV-positive participants enrolled in CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research, a multisite, observational study that completed comprehensive neurobehavioral and neuromedical evaluations, including a neurocognitive test battery covering seven cognitive domains. Among impaired individuals, HAND was diagnosed if NPI could not be attributed to comorbidities. CD4 nadir was obtained by self-report or observation. Potential modifiers of the relationship between CD4 nadir and HAND, including demographic and HIV disease characteristics, were assessed in univariate and multivariate analyses.
The median CD4 nadir (cells/μl) was 172, and 52% had NPI. Among impaired participants, 603 (75%) had HAND. Higher CD4 nadirs were associated with lower odds of NPI such that for every 5-unit increase in square-root CD4 nadir, the odds of NPI were reduced by 10%. In 589 virally suppressed participants on ART, higher CD4 nadir was associated with lower odds of NPI after adjusting for demographic and clinical factors.
As the risk of NPI was lowest in patients whose CD4 cell count was never allowed to fall to low levels before CART initiation, our findings suggest that initiation of CART as early as possible might reduce the risk of developing HAND, the most common source of NPI among HIV-infected individuals.
CD4 nadir; combination antiretroviral therapy; HIV-associated; neurocognitive disorders; neurocognitive impairment
Standard methods used to estimate HIV-1 population diversity are often resource intensive (e.g., single genome amplification, clonal amplification and pyrosequencing) and not well suited for large study cohorts. Additional approaches are needed to address the relationships between intraindividual HIV-1 genetic diversity and disease. With a small cohort of individuals, we validated three methods for measuring diversity: Shannon entropy and average pairwise distance (APD) using single genome sequences, and counts of mixed bases (i.e. ambiguous nucleotides) from population-based sequences. In a large cohort, we then used the mixed base approach to determine associations between measure HIV-1 diversity and HIV associated disease. Normalized counts of mixed bases correlated with Shannon Entropy at both the nucleotide (rho=0.72, p=0.002) and amino acid level (rho=0.59, p=0.015), and APD (rho=0.75, p=0.001). Among participants who underwent neuropsychological and clinical assessments (n=187), increased HIV-1 population diversity was associated with both a diagnosis of AIDS and neuropsychological impairment.
HIV; AIDS; genetic diversity; neuropsychological impairment; viral population dynamics
The contribution of bipolar disorder (BD), a prevalent serious mental illness characterized by impulsivity and mood instability, to antiretroviral (ART) and psychiatric medication adherence among HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals is unknown. We examined medication adherence among 44 HIV+/BD+ persons as compared to 33 demographically- and medically-comparable HIV+/BD− persons. Classification of adherent (≥90%) or non-adherent (<90%) based on proportion of correctly taken doses over 30 days was determined using electronic medication monitoring devices. HIV+/BD+ persons were significantly less likely to be ART adherent (47.7%) as compared to HIV+/BD− (90.9%) persons. Within the HIV+/BD+ group, mean psychiatric medication adherence was significantly worse than ART medication adherence, although there was a significant correlation between ART and psychiatric adherence levels. Importantly, 30-day ART adherence was associated with plasma virologic response among HIV+/BD+ individuals. Given the high overlap of HIV and BD, and the observed medication adherence difficulties for these persons, specialized adherence improvement interventions are needed.
Medication Adherence; HIV/AIDS; Bipolar Disorder
We aimed to investigate whether HIV latency in the CNS might have adverse molecular, pathologic, and clinical consequences.
This was a case-control comparison of HIV-1 seropositive (HIV+) patients with clinical and neuropathologic examination. Based on the levels of HIV-1 DNA, RNA, and p24 in the brain, cases were classified as controls, latent HIV CNS infection, and HIV encephalitis (HIVE). Analysis of epigenetic markers including BCL11B, neurodegeneration, and neuroinflammation was performed utilizing immunoblot, confocal microscopy, immunochemistry/image analysis, and qPCR. Detailed antemortem neurocognitive data were available for 23 out of the 32 cases.
HIV+ controls (n = 12) had no detectable HIV-1 DNA, RNA, or p24 in the CNS; latent HIV+ cases (n = 10) showed high levels of HIV-1 DNA but no HIV RNA or p24; and HIVE cases (n = 10) had high levels of HIV-1 DNA, RNA, and p24. Compared to HIV+ controls, the HIV+ latent cases displayed moderate cognitive impairment with neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory alterations, although to a lesser extent than HIVE cases. Remarkably, HIV+ latent cases showed higher levels of BCL11B and other chromatin modifiers involved in silencing. Increased BCL11B was associated with deregulation of proinflammatory genes like interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor–α, and CD74.
Persistence of latent HIV-1 infection in the CNS was associated with increased levels of chromatin modifiers, including BCL11B. Alteration of these epigenetic factors might result in abnormal transcriptomes, leading to inflammation, neurodegeneration, and neurocognitive impairment. BCL11B and other epigenetic factors involved in silencing might represent potential targets for HIV-1 involvement of the CNS.
In May 2012, the Division of AIDS Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) organized the “Global NeuroAIDS Roundtable” in conjunction with the 11th International Symposium on Neurovirology and the 2012 Conference on HIV in the Nervous System. The meeting was held in New York, NY, USA and brought together NIMH-funded investigators who are currently working on projects related to the neurological complications of AIDS (NeuroAIDS) in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America in order to provide an opportunity to share their recent findings and discuss the challenges encountered within each country. The major goals of the roundtable were to evaluate HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment and determine if it may be directly attributable to distinct HIV subtypes or clades and to discuss the future priorities for global NeuroAIDS research. At the “Global NeuroAIDS Roundtable”, presentations of preliminary research indicated that HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment is prevalent in all countries examined regardless of which HIV clade is present in the region. The only clear-cut difference between HIV-1 clades was in relation to subtypes A and D in Uganda. However, a key point that emerged from the discussions was that there is an urgent need to standardize neurocognitive assessment methodologies across the globe before definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the relationship between HIV clade diversity and neuropathogenesis. Future research directions were also discussed at the roundtable with particular emphasis on the potential of viral and host factor molecular interactions to impact the pathophysiology of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) from a global perspective.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and type 2 (HIV-2); Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); HIV clade; NeuroAIDS; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND); Neuropathogenesis
Despite the widening use of combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART), neurocognitive impairment remains common among HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals. Associations between HIV-related neuromedical variables and magnetic resonance imaging indices of brain structural integrity may provide insight into the neural bases for these symptoms. A diverse HIV+ sample (n=251) was studied through the CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research initiative. Multi-channel image analysis produced volumes of ventricular and sulcal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), cortical and subcortical gray matter, total cerebral white matter, and abnormal white matter. Cross-sectional analyses employed a series of multiple linear regressions to model each structural volume as a function of severity of prior immunosuppression (CD4 nadir), current CD4 count, presence of detectable CSF HIV RNA, and presence of HCV antibodies; secondary analyses examined plasma HIV RNA, estimated duration of HIV infection, and cumulative exposure to ART. Lower CD4 nadir was related to most measures of the structural brain damage. Higher current CD4, unexpectedly, correlated with lower white and subcortical gray and increased CSF. Detectable CSF HIV RNA was related to less total white matter. HCV coinfection was associated with more abnormal white matter. Longer exposure to ART was associated with lower white matter and higher sulcal CSF. HIV neuromedical factors, including lower nadir, higher current CD4 levels, and detectable HIV RNA, were associated with white matter damage and variability in subcortical volumes. Brain structural integrity in HIV likely reflects dynamic effects of current immune status and HIV replication, superimposed on residual effects associated with severe prior immunosuppression.
HIV; MRI; Neuroimaging; Immunospupression
Methamphetamine (METH) dependence is frequently comorbid with HIV infection and both have been linked to alterations of brain structure and function. In a previous study, we showed that the brain volume loss characteristic of HIV infection contrasts with METH-related volume increases in striatum and parietal cortex, suggesting distinct neurobiological responses to HIV and METH (Jernigan et al., 2005). fMRI has the potential to reveal functional interactions between the effects of HIV and METH. In the present study, 50 participants were studied in four groups: an HIV+ group, a recently METH dependent group, a dually affected group, and a group of unaffected community comparison subjects. An fMRI paradigm consisting of motor sequencing tasks of varying levels of complexity was administered to examine blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) changes. Within all groups, activity increased significantly with increasing task complexity in large clusters within sensorimotor and parietal cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and cingulate. The task complexity effect was regressed on HIV status, METH status, and the HIVxMETH interaction term in a simultaneous multiple regression. HIV was associated with less complexity-related activation in striatum, whereas METH was associated with less complexity-related activation in parietal regions. Significant interaction effects were observed in both cortical and subcortical regions; and, contrary to expectations, the complexity-related activation was less aberrant in dually-affected than in single-risk participants, in spite of comparable levels of neurocognitive impairment among the clinical groups. Thus, HIV and METH dependence, perhaps through their effects on dopaminergic systems, may have opposing functional effects on neural circuits involved in motor programming.
FMRI; neuroimaging; dopamine; drug abuse
Persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have a high prevalence of insomnia (46%) and daytime drowsiness (30%). Factors associated with insomnia among patients with HIV infection include depression and increased waist size. Screening for sleep disturbances should be considered among HIV-infected persons.
Background. Sleep disturbances are reportedly common among persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but recent data, including comparisons with HIV-uninfected persons, are limited.
Methods. We performed a cross-sectional study among early-treated HIV-infected military beneficiaries (n = 193) to determine the prevalence and factors associated with insomnia (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI]) and daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale [ESS]). Data were compared with HIV-uninfected persons (n = 50) matched by age, sex, race or ethnicity, and military rank.
Results. Forty-six percent of HIV-infected persons had insomnia (PSQI >5), and 30% reported daytime drowsiness (ESS ≥10). The prevalence of insomnia and daytime sleepiness was not significantly higher compared with the HIV-uninfected group (38% [P = .30] and 20% [P = .18], respectively). In the multivariate model, factors associated with insomnia among HIV infected patients included depression (odds ratio [OR], 16.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0–142.1; P = .01), increased waist size (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.4–5.1; P = .002), and fewer years of education (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, .7–.95; P = .006). Neurocognitive impairment (diagnosed in 19% of HIV-infected participants) was not associated with insomnia; however, HIV-infected persons with insomnia were 3.1-fold more likely to have a decline in activities of daily living than those without insomnia (23% vs 9%; P = .01). Only 18% of HIV-infected persons reported using a sleep medication at least weekly.
Conclusions. HIV-infected persons have a high prevalence of insomnia, but among an early-treated cohort this rate was not significantly higher compared with HIV-uninfected persons. Factors associated with insomnia among HIV-infected patients include depression and increased waist size. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of sleep disturbances are advocated and may improve quality of life.
Approximately one-third of persons infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) evidence mild cognitive impairment that is consistent with frontostriatal systems dysfunction, including cognitive dyscontrol, and impacts everyday functioning. The present study examined the effects of HCV on neurocognitive dispersion, or within-person variability in neurocognitive performance across domains, which may be a function of poor sustained cognitive control. High dispersion was also hypothesized to increase risk for unemployment. The study sample included 37 individuals with HCV infection (HCV+) and 45 demographically comparable uninfected comparison participants (HCV−). Dispersion was operationalized as an intraindividual standard deviation (ISD) calculated across the demographically-adjusted T-scores of 13 standard neuropsychological tests. Multiple linear regression and logistic regression approaches were used to evaluate associations between dispersion and HCV serostatus and employment status, respectively. HCV serostatus was significantly associated with higher dispersion, independent of mean level of neurocognitive ability, psychiatric factors, and liver disease severity. Within the HCV+ group, higher dispersion was associated with an increased risk of unemployment among individuals with higher overall mean neurocognitive ability. Increased neurocognitive dispersion among HCV+ individuals may indicate vulnerability to cognitive dyscontrol expressed as poor regulation of performance across tasks. Higher dispersion may manifest as functional difficulties in daily life, particularly among neurocognitively normal HCV-infected persons, which speaks to the potential clinical value of considering intra-individual variability when evaluating risk for everyday function problems in this population.
Hepatitis C; neuropsychological assessment; variability; employment; everyday functioning
Tenofovir is a nucleotide HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitor whose chemical properties suggest that it may not penetrate into the central nervous system in therapeutic concentrations. The study objective was to determine tenofovir penetration into cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
CHARTER is a multi-center, observational study to determine effects of antiretroviral therapy on HIV-associated neurological disease. Single random plasma and CSF samples were drawn within an hour of each other from subjects taking tenofovir between October 2003 and March 2007. All samples were assayed by mass spectrometry with a detection limit of 0.9 ng/mL.
183 participants (age 44 ± 8 years; 83 ± 32 kg; 33 females; CSF protein 44 ± 16 mg/dL) had plasma and CSF samples drawn 12.2 ± 6.9 and 11 ± 7.8 hours post-dose respectively. Median plasma and CSF tenofovir concentrations were 96 ng/mL (IQR 47 – 153) and 5.5 ng/mL (IQR 2.7 – 11.3), respectively. Thirty-four of 231 (14.7%) plasma and 9/77 (11.7%) CSF samples were below detection. CSF/plasma concentration ratio from paired samples was 0.057 (IQR 0.03 – 0.1; n=38). Median CSF/wild-type IC50 ratio was 0.48 (IQR 0.24 – 0.98). Seventy-seven percent of CSF concentrations were below the tenofovir wild-type IC50. More subjects had detectable CSF HIV with lower (≤ 7 ng/mL) versus higher (> 7ng/mL) CSF tenofovir concentrations (29% vs. 9%; p=0.05).
Tenofovir concentrations in the CSF are only 5% of plasma concentrations, suggesting limited transfer into the CSF, and possibly active transport out of the CSF. CSF tenofovir concentrations may not effectively inhibit viral replication in the CSF.
tenofovir; CSF; pharmacokinetics
HIV-associated sensory neuropathy remains an important complication of combination antiretroviral therapy (CART) and HIV infection. Mitochondrial DNA haplogroups and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have previously been associated with symptomatic neuropathy in clinical trial participants. We examined associations between mitochondrial DNA variation and HIV-associated sensory neuropathy in CHARTER. CHARTER is a U.S. based longitudinal observational study of HIV-infected adults who underwent a structured interview and standardized examination. HIV-associated sensory neuropathy was determined by trained examiners as ≥1 sign (diminished vibratory and sharp-dull discrimination or ankle reflexes) bilaterally. Mitochondrial DNA sequencing was performed and haplogroups were assigned by published algorithms. Multivariable logistic regression of associations between mitochondrial DNA SNPs, haplogroups and HIV-associated sensory neuropathy were performed. In analyses of associations of each mitochondrial DNA SNP with HIV-associated sensory neuropathy, the two most significant SNPs were at positions A12810G (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 0.27 [0.11-0.65]; p = 0.004) and T489C (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 0.41 [0.21-0.80]; p = 0.009). These synonymous changes are known to define African haplogroup L1c and European haplogroup J, respectively. Both haplogroups are associated with decreased prevalence of HIV-associated sensory neuropathy compared with all other haplogroups (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 0.29 [0.12-0.71]; p = 0.007 and odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 0.42 [0.18-1.0]; p = 0.05, respectively). In conclusion, in this cohort of mostly combination antiretroviral therapy-treated subjects, two common mitochondrial DNA SNPs and their corresponding haplogroups were associated with a markedly decreased prevalence of HIV-associated sensory neuropathy.
genetics; mitochondria; HIV-related neurological diseases; peripheral neuropathy
The present study aimed to examine if bilingualism affects executive functions and verbal fluency in Marathi and Hindi, two major languages in India, with a considerable cognate (e.g., activity is actividad in Spanish) overlap. A total of 174 native Marathi speakers from Pune, India, with varying levels of Hindi proficiency were administered tests of executive functioning and verbal performance in Marathi. A bilingualism index was generated using self-reported Hindi and Marathi proficiency. After controlling for demographic variables, the association between bilingualism and cognitive performance was examined. Degree of bilingualism predicted better performance on the switching (Color Trails-2) and inhibition (Stroop Color-Word) components of executive functioning; but not for the abstraction component (Halstead Category Test). In the verbal domain, bilingualism was more closely associated with noun generation (where the languages share many cognates) than verb generation (which are more disparate across these languages), as predicted. However, contrary to our hypothesis that the bilingualism “disadvantage” would be attenuated on noun generation, bilingualism was associated with an advantage on these measures. These findings suggest distinct patterns of bilingualism effects on cognition for this previously unexamined language pair, and that the rate of cognates may modulate the association between bilingualism and verbal performance on neuropsychological tests.
Multilingualism; Neuropsychological tests; India; Adult; Executive functions; Cognition
Difficulties with sustained attention have been found among both persons with HIV infection (HIV+) and bipolar disorder (BD). The authors examined sustained attention among 39 HIV+ individuals with BD (HIV+/BD+) and 33 HIV-infected individuals without BD (HIV+/BD−), using the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test–II (CPT–II). A Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score was also assigned to each participant as an overall indicator of daily functioning abilities. HIV+/BD+ participants had significantly worse performance on CPT–II omission errors, hit reaction time SE (Hit RT SE), variability of SE, and perseverations than HIV+/BD− participants. When examining CPT–II performance over the six study blocks, both HIV+/BD+ and HIV+/BD− participants evidenced worse performance on scores of commission errors and reaction times as the test progressed. The authors also examined the effect of current mood state (i.e., manic, depressive, euthymic) on CPT–II performance, but no significant differences were observed across the various mood states. HIV+/BD+ participants had significantly worse GAF scores than HIV+/BD− participants, which indicates poorer overall functioning in the dually-affected group; among HIV+/BD+ persons, significant negative correlations were found between GAF scores and CPT–II omission and commission errors, detectability, and perseverations, indicating a possible relationship between decrements in sustained attention and worse daily-functioning outcomes.
Since HIV-1 Tat has been associated with neurocognitive dysfunction, we investigated 60 HIV-1 subtype B infected individuals who were characterized for neurocognitive functioning and had paired CSF and blood plasma samples available. To avoid issues with repeated sampling, we generated population-based HIV-1 tat sequences from each compartment and evaluated these data using a battery of phylogenetic, statistical and machine learning tools. These analyses identified position HXB2 5905 within the cysteine-rich domain of tat as a signature of CSF-derived HIV-1, and a higher number of mixed bases in CSF, measure of diversity, was associated with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder. Since identified mutations were synonymous, we evaluated the predicted secondary RNA structures, which showed that this mutation altered secondary structure. As a measure of divergence, the genetic distance between the blood and CSF derived tat was inversely correlated with current and nadir CD4+ T cell counts. These data suggest that specific HIV-1 features of tat influence neurotropism and neurocognitive impairment.
HIV; central nervous system; tat; compartmentalization
Aged (>50 years old) human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients are the fastest-growing segment of the HIV-infected population in the USA and despite antiretroviral therapy, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) prevalence has increased or remained the same among this group. Autophagy is an intracellular clearance pathway for aggregated proteins and aged organelles; dysregulation of autophagy is implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and HAND. Here, we hypothesized that dysregulated autophagy may contribute to aging-related neuropathology in HIV-infected individuals. To explore this possibility, we surveyed autophagy marker levels in postmortem brain samples from a cohort of well-characterized <50 years old (young) and >50 years old (aged) HIV+ and HIV encephalitis (HIVE) patients. Detailed clinical and neuropathological data showed the young and aged HIVE patients had higher viral load, increased neuroinflammation and elevated neurodegeneration; however, aged HIVE postmortem brain tissues showed the most severe neurodegenerative pathology. Interestingly, young HIVE patients displayed an increase in beclin-1, cathepsin-D and light chain (LC)3, but these autophagy markers were reduced in aged HIVE cases compared to age-matched HIV+ donors. Similar alterations in autophagy markers were observed in aged gp120 transgenic (tg) mice; beclin-1 and LC3 were decreased in aged gp120 tg mice while mTor levels were increased. Lentivirus-mediated beclin-1 gene transfer, that is known to activate autophagy pathways, increased beclin-1, LC3, and microtubule-associated protein 2 expression while reducing glial fibrillary acidic protein and Iba1 expression in aged gp120 tg mice. These data indicate differential alterations in the autophagy pathway in young versus aged HIVE patients and that autophagy reactivation may ameliorate the neurodegenerative phenotype in these patients.
Aging; HIV; Autophagy; gp120; Beclin-1
In July 2009, the Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS at the National Institute of Mental Health organized and supported the meeting “NeuroAIDS in Africa.” This meeting was held in Cape Town, South Africa, and was affiliated with the 5th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention. Presentations began with an overview of the epidemiology of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, the molecular epidemiology of HIV, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDs), and HAND treatment. These introductory talks were followed by presentations on HAND research and clinical care in Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. Topics discussed included best practices for assessing neurocognitive disorders, patterns of central nervous system (CNS) involvement in the region, subtype-associated risk for HAND, pediatric HIV assessments and neurodevelopment, HIV-associated CNS opportunistic infections and immune reconstitution syndrome, the evolving changes in treatment implementation, and various opportunities and strategies for NeuroAIDS research and capacity building in the region.
HIV; neurodevelopment; neurology; neuropsychology; subtypes
To describe a severe form of demyelinating HIV-associated leukoencephalopathy in AIDS patients failing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), its relationship to clinical and neuroimaging findings, and suggest hypotheses regarding pathogenesis.
Design and methods
AIDS patients who failed HAART and displayed severe leukoencephalopathy were included. All cases had detailed neuromedical, neuropsychological, neuroimaging and postmortem neuropathological examination. Immunocytochemical and PCR analyses were performed to determine brain HIV levels and to exclude other viruses.
Seven recent autopsy cases of leukoencephalopathy in antiretroviral-experienced patients with AIDS were identified. Clinically, all were severely immunosuppressed, six (86%) had poorly controlled HIV replication despite combination antiretroviral therapy, and five (71%) had HIV-associated dementia. Neuropathologically, all seven had intense perivascular infiltration by HIV-gp41 immunoreactive monocytes/macrophages and lymphocytes, widespread myelin loss, axonal injury, microgliosis and astrogliosis. The extent of damage exceeds that described prior to the use of HAART. Brain tissue demonstrated high levels of HIV RNA but evidence of other pathogens, such as JC virus, Epstein–Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, human herpes virus type-8, and herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, was absent. Comparison of the stages of pathology suggests a temporal sequence of events. In this model, white matter damage begins with perivascular infiltration by HIV-infected monocytes, which may occur as a consequence of antiretroviral-associated immune restoration. Intense infiltration by immune cells injures brain endothelial cells and is followed by myelin loss, axonal damage, and finally, astrogliosis.
Taken together, our findings provide evidence for the emergence of a severe form of HIV-associated leukoencephalopathy. This condition warrants further study and increased vigilance among those who provide care for HIV-infected individuals.
HIV leukoencephalopathy; antiretroviral therapy
While neuropsychological deficits are evident among methamphetamine (meth) addicts, they are often unrelated to meth exposure parameters such as lifetime consumption and length of abstinence. The notion that some meth users develop neuropsychological impairments while others with similar drug exposure do not, suggests that there may be individual differences in vulnerability to the neurotoxic effects of meth. One source of differential vulnerability could come from genotypic variability in metabolic clearance of meth, dependent on the activity of cytochrome P450-2D6 (CYP2D6). We compared neuropsychological performance in 52 individuals with a history of meth dependence according with their CYP2D6 phenotype. All were free of HIV or hepatitis C infection and did not meet dependence criteria for other substances. Extensive metabolizers showed worse overall neuropsychological performance and were three times as likely to be cognitively impaired as intermediate/poor metabolizers. Groups did not differ in their demographic or meth use characteristics, nor did they evidence differences in mood disorder or other substance use. This preliminary study is the first to suggest that efficient meth metabolism is associated with worse neurocognitive outcomes in humans, and implicates the products of oxidative metabolism of meth as a possible source of brain injury.
Substance abuse; CYP2D6; Polymorphisms; Neurotoxicity; Metabolism; Cognition