Sensorimotor inhibition, or the ability to filter out excessive or irrelevant information, theoretically supports a variety of higher-level cognitive functions. Impaired inhibition may be associated with increased impulsive and risky behavior in everyday life. Individuals infected with HIV frequently show impairment on tests of neurocognitive function, but sensorimotor inhibition in this population has not been studied and may be a contributor to the profile of HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND). 37 HIV-infected individuals (15 with HAND) and 48 non-infected comparison subjects were assessed for prepulse inhibition (PPI), an eyeblink startle paradigm measuring sensorimotor gating. Although HIV status alone was not associated with PPI deficits, HIV-positive participants meeting criteria for HAND showed impaired PPI compared to cognitively intact HIV-positive subjects. In HIV-positive subjects, PPI was correlated with working memory but was not associated with antiretroviral therapy or illness factors. In conclusion, sensorimotor disinhibition in HIV accompanies deficits in higher-order cognitive functions, though the causal direction of this relationship requires investigation. Subsequent research on the role of sensorimotor gating on decision-making and risk behaviors in HIV may be indicated.
sensorimotor gating; AIDS dementia complex; cognition; startle; working memory; impulsivity
Despite modern antiretroviral treatment, HIV-associated distal neuropathic pain (DNP) remains one of the most prevalent and debilitating complications of HIV disease. Neuropathic pain is often accompanied by depressed mood, and both pain and depression have been associated with decreased health-related quality of life (HRQOL) well-being. The relative contribution of depression and pain to worse life quality has not been addressed, however, even though a better understanding might sharpen intervention strategies.
We used the Medical Outcomes Study HIV (MOS-HIV) Health Survey and the Beck Depression Inventory-II and linear regression models to investigate HRQOL well-being in HIV-infected patients with DNP (N=397) participating in an observational cohort study at six US sites (CNS HIV Antiretroviral Treatment Effects Research Study, CHARTER).
For this sample of patients with HIV DNP, severity of depressed mood was more highly correlated with HRQOL well-being than was pain intensity.
These results suggest that interventions to improve HRQOL well-being in individuals with HIV-associated DNP may need to address not only pain intensity, but mood state as well.
Quality of Life; Depression; HIV-Associated Distal Neuropathic Pain; Pain Intensity
It has been proposed that portal-systemic shunts be avoided in alcoholic cirrhotics because survival rate is allegedly lower in alcoholics than in nonalcoholics. We examined this issue in a randomized controlled trial.
211 unselected, consecutive patients with cirrhosis and bleeding esophageal varices were randomized to endoscopic sclerotherapy (EST) (n=106) or emergency portacaval shunt (EPCS) (105). Treatment was initiated within 8 hours. EST failure was treated by rescue PCS. 10-yr follow-up was 96%.
Results strongly favored EPCS over EST (p<0.001). Among EPCS patients, 83% were alcoholic and 17% nonalcoholic. Outcomes were (1) permanent control of bleeding 100% vs. 100%; (2) 5-yr survival 71% vs.78%; (3) encephalopathy 14% vs. 19%; (4) yearly charges $38,300 vs. $43,000.
EPCS results were similar in alcoholic and nonalcoholic cirrhotics. EPCS is an effective first line emergency treatment in all forms of cirrhosis, including alcoholic.
Cirrhosis; Bleeding esophageal varices; Emergency portacaval shunt; Endoscopic sclerotherapy; Alcoholic; Nonalcoholic
Neurocognitive impairment remains prevalent in HIV infected (HIV+) individuals despite highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). We assessed the impact of HIV, HAART, and aging using structural neuroimaging.
Seventy-eight participants (HIV− (n=26), HIV+ on stable HAART (HIV+/HAART+; n=26), HIV+ naive to HAART (HIV+/HAART−; n=26)) completed neuroimaging and neuropsychological testing. A subset of HIV+ subjects (n = 12) performed longitudinal assessments before and after initiating HAART. Neuropsychological tests evaluated memory, psychomotor speed, and executive function and a composite neuropsychological score was calculated based on normalized performances (NPZ-4). Volumetrics were evaluated for the amygdala, caudate, thalamus, hippocampus, putamen, corpus callosum, cerebral grey and white matter. A three-group one way analysis of variance assessed differences in neuroimaging and neuropsychological indices. Correlations were examined between NPZ-4 and volumetrics. Exploratory testing using a broken stick regression model evaluated self-reported duration of HIV infection on brain structure.
HIV+ individuals had significant reductions in brain volumetrics within select subcortical regions (amygdala, caudate, and corpus callosum) compared to HIV− participants. However, HAART did not affect brain structure as regional volumes were similar for HIV+/HAART− and HIV+/HAART+. No association existed between NPZ-4 and volumetrics. HIV and aging were independently associated with volumetric reductions. Exploratory analyses suggest caudate atrophy due to HIV slowly occurs after self-reported seroconversion.
HIV associated volumetric reductions within the amygdala, caudate, and corpus callosum occurs despite HAART. A gradual decline in caudate volume occurs after self-reported seroconversion. HIV and aging independently increase brain vulnerability. Additional longitudinal structural MRI studies, especially within older HIV+ participants, are required.
HIV; HAART; aging; brain volume
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
Estimates of the prevalence of lifetime suicidal ideation and attempt, and risks for new-onset suicidality, among HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals are not widely available in the era of modern combined antiretroviral treatment (cART).
Participants (n=1560) were evaluated with a comprehensive battery of tests that included the depression and substance use modules of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) as part of a large prospective cohort study at six U.S. academic medical centers. Participants with possible lifetime depression (n=981) were classified into five categories: 1) no thoughts of death or suicide (n=352); 2) thoughts of death (n=224); 3) thoughts of suicide (n=99); 4) made a suicide plan (n=102); and 5) attempted suicide (n=204).
Twenty-six percent (405/1560) of participants reported lifetime suicidal ideation and 13% (204/1560) reported lifetime suicide attempt. Participants who reported suicidal thoughts or plans, or attempted suicide, reported higher scores on the BDI-II (p<0.0001), and higher rates of current major depressive disorder (p=0.01), than those who did not. Attempters reported higher rates of lifetime substance abuse (p=0.02) and current use of psychotropic medications (p=0.01) than non-attempters.
Study assessments focused on lifetime, rather than current, suicide. Data was not collected on the timing of ideation or attempt, frequency, or nature of suicide attempt.
High rates of lifetime suicidal ideation and attempt, and the relationship of past report with current depressed mood, suggests that mood disruption is still prevalent in HIV. Findings emphasize the importance of properly diagnosing and treating psychiatric comorbidities among HIV persons in the cART era.
HIV; depression; suicide
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
Role of mannose binding lectin (MBL) complement activation pathway, an arm of innate immunity in multiple sclerosis (MS) was evaluated by analyzing the expression of MBL, MBL-associated serine protease -2 (MASP-2), and functional MBL/MASP-2 mediated C4 cleavage (fMBL) in 87 plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from MS patients and non-MS controls. Median fMBL and MASP-2 plasma levels were higher in MS vs. non-MS cases. These associations remained in an analysis of subtypes of MS disease. These findings suggest a potential activation of MBL complement pathway in MS that may possibly alter the risk or progression of MS disease.
multiple sclerosis; mannose-binding lectin; innate immunity; plasma; cerebrospinal fluid
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and methamphetamine (METH) dependence are independently associated with neuronal dysfunction. The coupling between cerebral blood flow (CBF) and neuronal activity is the basis of many task-based functional neuroimaging techniques. We examined the interaction between HIV infection and a previous history of METH dependence on CBF within the lenticular nuclei (LN). Twenty-four HIV−/METH−, eight HIV−/METH+, 24 HIV+/METH−, and 15 HIV+/METH+ participants performed a finger tapping paradigm. A multiple regression analysis of covariance assessed associations and two-way interactions between CBF and HIV serostatus and/or previous history of METH dependence. HIV+ individuals had a trend towards a lower baseline CBF (−10%, p=0.07) and greater CBF changes for the functional task (+32%, p=0.01) than HIV− subjects. Individuals with a previous history of METH dependence had a lower baseline CBF (–16%, p= 0.007) and greater CBF changes for a functional task (+33%, p=0.02). However, no interaction existed between HIV serostatus and previous history of METH dependence for either baseline CBF (p=0.53) or CBF changes for a functional task (p=0.10). In addition, CBF and volume in the LN were not correlated. A possible additive relationship could exist between HIV infection and a history of METH dependence on CBF with a previous history of METH dependence having a larger contribution. Abnormalities in CBF could serve as a surrogate measure for assessing the chronic effects of HIV and previous METH dependence on brain function.
Human immunodeficiency virus; Methamphetamine; Cerebral blood flow; Lenticular nuclei; Highly active antiretroviral therapy
Memory and executive functioning are two important components of clinical neuropsychological (NP) practice and research. Multiple demographic factors are known to affect performance differentially on most NP tests, but adequate normative corrections, inclusive of race/ethnicity, are not available for many widely used instruments. This study compared demographic contributions for widely used tests of verbal and visual learning and memory (Brief Visual Memory Test-Revised, Hopkins Verbal Memory Test-Revised), and executive functioning (Stroop Color and Word Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test-64) in groups of healthy Caucasians (n = 143) and African-Americans (n = 103). Demographic factors of age, education, gender, and race/ethnicity were found to be significant factors on some indices of all four tests. The magnitude of demographic contributions (especially age) was greater for African-Americans than Caucasians on most measures. New, demographically corrected T-score formulas were calculated for each race/ethnicity. The rates of NP impairment using previously published normative standards significantly overestimated NP impairment in African-Americans. Utilizing the new demographic corrections developed and presented herein, NP impairment rates were comparable between the two race/ethnicities and unrelated to the other demographic characteristics (age, education, gender) in either race/ethnicity group. Findings support the need to consider extended demographic contributions to neuropsychological test performance in clinical and research settings.
Co-infection with HIV and P. falciparum worsens the prognosis of both infections; however, the mechanisms driving this adverse interaction are not fully delineated. To evaluate this, we studied HIV-1 and P. falciparum interactions in vitro using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from human malaria naïve volunteers experimentally infected with P. falciparum in a malaria challenge trial.PBMCs collected before the malaria challenge and at several time points post-infection were infected with HIV-1 and co-cultured with either P. falciparum infected (iRBCs) or uninfected (uRBCs) red blood cells. HIV p24Ag and TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17, and MIP-1α were quantified in the co-culture supernatants. In general, iRBCs stimulated more HIV p24Ag production by PBMCs than did uRBCs. HIV p24Ag production by PBMCs in the presence of iRBCs (but not uRBCs) further increased during convalescence (days 35, 56, and 90 post-challenge). In parallel, iRBCs induced higher secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IFN-γ, and MIP-1α) than uRBCs, and production increased further during convalescence. Because the increase in p24Ag production occurred after parasitemia and generalized immune activation had resolved, our results suggest that enhanced HIV production is related to the development of anti-malaria immunity and may be mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines.
HIV-negative individuals with a family history of dementia (FHD) are more likely to develop dementia than those without a FHD. Whether FHD increases risk for neuropsychological (NP) impairment in HIV+ persons is unknown. As part of a multi-site study into HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND), we captured FHD with a free-response, self-report question, and assessed NP performance with a comprehensive battery of tests. We examined HIV+ persons with (n=190) and without (n=916) self-reported FHD. Despite the fact that the FHD group had factors typically associated with better NP performance (e.g., higher CD4 counts and estimated verbal IQ [VIQ]), persons with FHD had significantly worse NP ability than those without FHD as measured by a Global Deficit Score (GDS) (FHD mean=0.66; No FHD mean=0.55; p<0.05). Thus, FHD appears to be a risk factor for HAND; the mechanism(s) underlying how FHD contributes to NP impairment among HIV+ persons warrants study.
HIV; AIDS; Cognition; Aging; Dementia
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
Subject performance, scanner hardware, or biological factors can affect single session neuroimaging measures. Stability studies using calibrated blood oxygenation level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD-fMRI) have been performed in health but not disease. We utilized calibrated BOLD-fMRI to determine the effects of HIV on neurovascular coupling. 6 clinically stable HIV-infected patients (HIV+) and 10 seronegative controls (HIV−) were scanned at two separate sessions approximately 3 months apart. Both mild hypercapnia (5% CO2) exposure and a visual functional activation task were performed. Intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) and inter-subject variance were determined for calibrated BOLD-fMRI measures (baseline cerebral blood flow (CBF), functional CBF, BOLD, and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption (CMRO2) changes) for HIV+ and HIV− subjects. The two groups did not differ in age, sex, or education. HIV+ subjects had lower mean baseline CBF (p <0.04, Cohen’s d=−1.07) and functional BOLD responses (p< 0.001, Cohen’s d=−2.47) and a trend towards a decrease in mean functional CBF responses (p= 0.07, Cohen’s d=−0.92) despite similar mean functional CMRO2 changes (p= 0.71, Cohen’s d=0.19). The stability of each calibrated BOLD-fMRI measure, as assessed by ICC, was significantly lower for HIV+ subjects. In addition, HIV+ participants had greater inter-subject variability for baseline CBF (p <0.02), functional BOLD (p< 0.001), CBF (p< 0.001), and CMRO2 (p< 0.002) responses. Our results demonstrate that calibrated BOLD-fMRI measures have excellent stability within healthy controls. In contrast, these values have greater variability in clinically stable HIV+ subjects and may reflect alterations in coupling between CBF and CMRO2 with disease.
cerebral blood flow; cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption; stability; functional magnetic resonance imaging; blood oxygenation level dependent imaging
Bleeding esophageal varices (BEV) in cirrhosis has been considered an indication for liver transplantation (LT). This issue was examined in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of unselected, consecutive patients with advanced cirrhosis and BEV that compared endoscopic sclerotherapy (EST) (n=106) to emergency direct portacaval shunt (EPCS) (n=105).
Diagnostic workup and treatment were initiated within 8 hours. Patients were evaluated for LT on admission and repeatedly thereafter. 96% underwent over 10 years of regular follow-up. The analysis was supplemented by 1300 unrandomized cirrhotic patients who previously underwent portacaval shunt (PCS) with 100% follow-up.
In the RCT, long-term bleeding control was 100% following EPCS, only 20% following EST. 3, 5, 10, and 15-year survival rates were 75%, 73%, 46%, and 46% following EPCS, compared to 44%, 21%, 9%, and 9% following EST (p<0.001). Only 13 RCT patients (6%) were ultimately referred for LT mainly because of progressive liver failure; only 7 (3%) were approved for LT and only 4 (2%) underwent LT. 1- and 5-year LT survival rates were 0.68% and 0, compared to 81% and 73% after EPCS. In the 1300 unrandomized PCS patients. 50 (3.8%) were referred and 19 (1.5%) underwent LT. Five-year survival rate was 53% compared to 72% for all 1300 patients.
If bleeding is permanently controlled, as occurred invariably following EPCS, cirrhotic patients with BEV seldom require LT. PCS is effective first-line and long-term treatment. Should LT be required in patients with PCS, although technically more demanding, numerous studies have shown that PCS does not increase mortality or complications. EST is not effective emergency or long-term therapy.
Portacaval shunt; endoscopic sclerotherapy; liver transplantation; survival
Little is known about modifications to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiated during acute or early HIV infection.
Reasons for first modifications of HAART regimens were recorded using the AIDS Clinical Trials Group form among 363 subjects who initiated HAART within 1 year of seroconversion from 2005 in the Acute Infection and Early Disease Research Program. Modifications recorded as due to “patient choice” or “physician choice” were clarified by query to the recording site. Times to events were analyzed by Kaplan–Meier methods; significance of differences was assessed by the log-rank test.
Two hundred five of 363 (56%) subjects modified therapy, at a median of 425 days after initiation, by changing drugs, discontinuing treatment, or removing or adding drugs. Most modifications were attributed to toxicity (n = 105, 51%), most of which was low grade; regimen simplification (n = 18, 5%); and achievement of viral suppression (n = 15, 7%). Time to first modification was shorter for those with shorter time from infection to initiation (P = 0.005) and those having higher CD4 lymphocyte count at initiation (P = 0.06). Modifications occurred sooner in subjects receiving regimens taken more than once daily (P < 0.001) or with more than 2 pills daily (P < 0.001). Most regimens were nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor based or protease inhibitor based, and these did not differ significantly in rate and timing of modification.
HAART initiated early in HIV infection was modified in the majority of cases, usually due to minor toxicities whose incidence was similar for protease inhibitor–based and nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor–based regimens. Convenience of regimens (lower pill burden and dosing frequency) was associated with a lower rate of modification.
cohort studies; regimen modification; toxicity
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders continue to be common. Antiretrovirals that achieve higher concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are associated with better control of HIV and improved cognition. The objective of this study was to measure total raltegravir (RAL) concentrations in CSF and to compare them with matched concentrations in plasma and in vitro inhibitory concentrations. Eighteen subjects with HIV-1 infection were enrolled based on the use of RAL-containing regimens and the availability of CSF and matched plasma samples. RAL was measured in 21 CSF and plasma pairs by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and HIV RNA was detected by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). RAL concentrations were compared to the 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) for wild-type HIV-1 (3.2 ng/ml). Volunteers were predominantly middle-aged white men with AIDS and without hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection. The median concurrent CD4+ cell count was 276/μl, and 28% of CD4+ cell counts were below 200/μl. HIV RNA was detectable in 38% of plasma specimens and 4% of CSF specimens. RAL was present in all CSF specimens, with a median total concentration of 14.5 ng/ml. The median concentration in plasma was 260.9 ng/ml, with a median CSF-to-plasma ratio of 0.058. Concentrations in CSF correlated with those in with plasma (r2, 0.24; P, 0.02) but not with the postdose sampling time (P, >0.50). RAL concentrations in CSF exceeded the IC50 for wild-type HIV in all specimens by a median of 4.5-fold. RAL is present in CSF and reaches sufficiently high concentrations to inhibit wild-type HIV in all individuals. As a component of effective antiretroviral regimens or as the main antiretroviral, RAL likely contributes to the control of HIV replication in the nervous system.
Acute HIV-1 infection is characterized by high levels of immune activation. Immunomodulation with Cyclosporin A combined with antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the setting of acute and early HIV-1 infection has been reported to result in enhanced immune reconstitution. Fifty-four individuals with acute and early infection were randomized to receive ART with 4 weeks of Cyclosporine A versus ART alone. In 48 subjects who completed the study, there were no significant differences between treatment arms in levels of proviral DNA or CD4+ T cell counts. Adjunctive therapy with Cyclosporine A in this setting does not provide apparent virologic or immunologic benefit.
Despite management with opioids and other pain modifying therapies, neuropathic pain continues to reduce the quality of life and daily functioning in HIV-infected individuals. Cannabinoid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems have been shown to modulate pain perception. We conducted a clinical trial to assess the impact of smoked cannabis on neuropathic pain in HIV. This was a phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of analgesia with smoked cannabis in HIV-associated distal sensory predominant polyneuropathy (DSPN). Eligible subjects had neuropathic pain refractory to at least two previous analgesic classes; they continued on their prestudy analgesic regimens throughout the trial. Regulatory considerations dictated that subjects smoke under direct observation in a hospital setting. Treatments were placebo and active cannabis ranging in potency between 1 and 8% Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, four times daily for 5 consecutive days during each of 2 treatment weeks, separated by a 2-week washout. The primary outcome was change in pain intensity as measured by the Descriptor Differential Scale (DDS) from a pretreatment baseline to the end of each treatment week. Secondary measures included assessments of mood and daily functioning. Of 127 volunteers screened, 34 eligible subjects enrolled and 28 completed both cannabis and placebo treatments. Among the completers, pain relief was greater with cannabis than placebo (median difference in DDS pain intensity change, 3.3 points, effect size = 0.60; p = 0.016). The proportions of subjects achieving at least 30% pain relief with cannabis versus placebo were 0.46 (95%CI 0.28, 0.65) and 0.18 (0.03, 0.32). Mood and daily functioning improved to a similar extent during both treatment periods. Although most side effects were mild and self-limited, two subjects experienced treatment-limiting toxicities. Smoked cannabis was generally well tolerated and effective when added to concomitant analgesic therapy in patients with medically refractory pain due to HIV DSPN.
HIV; clinical; neuropathic pain; cannabis; polyneuropathy
The contribution of low frequency drug-resistant HIV-1 variants to failure of antiretroviral therapy is not well-defined in treatment-experienced patients.
We sought to detect minor non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-resistant variants at the onset of multidrug efavirenz-containing therapy in both NNRTI-naïve and NNRTI-experienced patients and to determine their association with virologic response.
Plasma samples at entry and virologic failure from patients enrolled in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group study 398 were analyzed by standard genotype, single-genome sequencing and allele-specific PCR (K103N and Y181C) to detect and quantify minor NNRTI-resistant variants.
Minor populations of NNRTI-resistant variants that were missed by standard genotype were detected more often at study entry in NNRTI-experienced patients than NNRTI-naïve patients by both single-genome sequencing (8 of 12 vs. 3 of 15; P=0.022) and allele-specific PCR (>1% Y181C: 5 of 22 vs. 3 of 72, respectively, P = 0.016). K103N variants at frequencies >1% were associated with inferior HIV-1 RNA response to efavirenz-containing therapy between entry and week 24 (+0.5 vs −1.1 log10 copies/ml; P <0.001).
Minor NNRTI-resistant variants were more prevalent in NNRTI-experienced patients and were associated with reduced virologic response to efavirenz-containing multidrug regimens.
HIV-1 Drug-resistance; Minority Variants; Virologic Response
We investigated interactions between HIV and aging on brain function demands using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A multiple regression model studied the association and interaction between fMRI measures, HIV serostatus, and age for 26 HIV infected (HIV+) and 25 seronegative (HIV−) subjects. While HIV serostatus and age independently affected fMRI measures, no interaction occurred. Functional brain demands in HIV+ subjects were equivalent to ~15–20 year older HIV− subjects. Frailty parallels between HIV and aging could result from continued immunological challenges depleting resources and triggering increased metabolic demands. fMRI could be a non-invasive biomarker to assess HIV in the brain.
HIV neurological disorders; aging; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); cerebral blood flow and metabolism
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) controllers maintain viremia at <2,000 RNA copies/ml without antiretroviral therapy. Viruses from controllers with chronic infection were shown to exhibit impaired replication capacities, in part associated with escape mutations from cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses. In contrast, little is known about viruses during acute/early infection in individuals who subsequently become HIV controllers. Here, we examine the viral replication capacities, HLA types, and virus sequences from 18 HIV-1 controllers identified during primary infection. gag-protease chimeric viruses constructed using the earliest postinfection samples displayed significantly lower replication capacities than isolates from persons who failed to control viremia (P = 0.0003). Protective HLA class I alleles were not enriched in these early HIV controllers, but viral sequencing revealed a significantly higher prevalence of drug resistance mutations associated with impaired viral fitness in controllers than in noncontrollers (6/15 [40.0%] versus 10/80 [12.5%], P = 0.018). Moreover, of two HLA-B57-positive (B57+) controllers identified, both harbored, at the earliest time point tested, signature escape mutations within Gag that likewise impair viral replication capacity. Only five controllers did not express “protective” alleles or harbor viruses with drug resistance mutations; intriguingly, two of them displayed typical B57 signature mutations (T242N), suggesting the acquisition of attenuated viruses from B57+ donors. These data indicate that acute/early stage viruses from persons who become controllers have evidence of reduced replication capacity during the initial stages of infection which is likely associated with transmitted or acquired CTL escape mutations or transmitted drug resistance mutations. These data suggest that viral dynamics during acute infection have a major impact on HIV disease outcome.
Methamphetamine (meth) abuse is increasingly of public health concern and has been associated with neurocognitive dysfunction. Some previous studies have been hampered by background differences between meth users and comparison subjects, as well as unknown HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) status, which can also affect brain functioning. We compared the neurocognitive functioning of 54 meth dependent (METH+) study participants who had been abstinent for an average of 129 days, to that of 46 demographically comparable control subjects (METH-) with similar level of education and reading ability. All participants were free of HIV and HCV infection. The METH+ group exhibited higher rates of neuropsychological impairment in most areas tested. Among meth users, neuropsychologically normal (n=32) and impaired (n=22) subjects did not differ with respect to self-reported age at first use, total years of use, route of consumption, or length of abstinence. Those with motor impairment had significantly greater meth use in the past year, but impairment in cognitive domains was unrelated to meth exposure. The apparent lack of correspondence between substance use parameters and cognitive impairment suggests the need for further study of individual differences in vulnerability to the neurotoxic effects of methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine; Stimulant; Motor impairment; Neuropsychological; Cognitive impairment; Drug exposure; Predictors
Sensory neuropathy (SN) is a common peripheral nerve complication of HIV infection and highly active antiretroviral therapy. Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of risk factors for atherosclerosis and microvascular disease, is associated with SN in HIV-uninfected (HIV−) persons. We examined if MetS or its components predispose individuals to HIV-SN.
From a prospective multicenter cohort of 1,556 HIV+ subjects, a subgroup (n=130) with fasting laboratory tests and SN assessment was selected.
SN was defined by symmetrically decreased reflexes or sensation loss in the legs. MetS was defined by presence of ≥3 risk factors: mean arterial pressure (MAP) ≥100 mm Hg; triglycerides (TRG) ≥150 mg/dl and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) <40 mg/dL for males, <50 mg/dL for females; body mass index (BMI) >25 kg/m2; plasma glucose (GLU) ≥100 mg/dl and self-reported diabetes (DM II). Multivariate logistic regression examined the association between HIV-SN and MetS.
After controlling for HIV-SN risk factors- age, CD4 current, length of HIV infection, use of dideoxynucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors; MetS was not associated with HIV-SN (p=0.72). However, when each MetS component was assessed, elevated TRG was a significant risk factor for HIV-SN. From the larger cohort, both DM II (OR=1.4, p<0.01) and elevated TRG (OR=1.4, p=0.01) were risk factors for HIV-SN.
The risk of HIV-SN was increased for DM II and elevated TRG, but not other MetS components. Both increase the risk of SN in HIV- populations, but the mechanism(s) remains unclear.
HIV; sensory neuropathy; metabolic syndrome; highly active antiretroviral therapy
Emergency treatment of bleeding esophageal varices (BEV) in cirrhotic patients is of prime importance because of the high mortality rate surrounding the episode of acute bleeding. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of randomized controlled trials of emergency surgical therapy and no reports of the costs of any of the widely used forms of emergency treatment. The important issue of direct costs of care was examined in a randomized controlled trial that compared endoscopic sclerotherapy (EST) to emergency portacaval shunt (EPCS).
Two hundred eleven unselected consecutive patients with ultimately biopsy-proven cirrhosis and endoscopically proven acute BEV were randomized to EST (n = 106) or EPCS (n = 105). Diagnostic workup was completed, and EST or EPCS was initiated within 8 h. Criteria for failure of EST or EPCS were clearly defined, and crossover rescue treatment was applied, when primary therapy failed. Ninety-six percent of patients underwent more than 10 years follow-up, or until death. Complete charges for all aspects of care were obtained continuously for more than 10 years.
Direct charges for all aspects of care were significantly lower in patients treated by EPCS than in patients treated by emergency EST followed by long-term repetitive sclerotherapy. Charges per patient, per year of treatment, and per year in each child’s risk class were significantly lower in patients randomized to EPCS. Charges in patients who failed endoscopic sclerotherapy and underwent a rescue portacaval shunt were significantly higher than the charges in both the unshunted sclerotherapy patients and the patients randomized to EPCS. This result was particularly noteworthy given the widespread practice of using surgical portacaval shunt as rescue treatment only when all other forms of therapy have failed.
In this randomized controlled trial of emergency treatment of acute BEV, EPCS was significantly superior to EST with regard to direct costs of care as reflected in charges for care as well as in survival rate, control of bleeding, and incidence of portal-systemic encephalopathy. These results provide support for the use of EPCS as a first line of emergency treatment of BEV in cirrhosis (clinicaltrials.gov #NCT00690027).
Direct costs; Cirrhosis; Varices; Shunt; Sclerotherapy