White and Gray Matter Changes are Associated With Neurocognitive Decline in HIV Infection

Alice Chien, Tianxia Wu, Chuen-Yen Lau, Darshan Pandya, Amanda Wiebold, Brian Agan, Joseph Snow, Bryan Smith, Avindra Nath, Govind Nair, NIH-DOD NeuroHIV Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between neurocognitive deficits and structural changes on brain magnetic resonance imaging in people living with HIV (PLWH) with good virological control on combination antiretroviral therapy, compared with socioeconomically matched control participants recruited from the same communities.

METHODS: Brain magnetic resonance imaging scans, and clinical and neuropsychological data were obtained from virologically controlled PLWH (viral load of <50 c/mL and at least 1 year of combination antiretroviral therapy) and socioeconomically matched control participants. Magnetic resonance imaging was carried out on 3 T scanner with 8-channel head coils and segmented using Classification using Derivative-based Features. Multiple regression analysis was performed to examine the association between brain volume and various clinical and neuropsychiatric parameters adjusting for age, race, and sex. To evaluate longitudinal changes in brain volumes, a random coefficient model was used to evaluate the changes over time (age) adjusting for sex and race.

RESULTS: The cross-sectional study included 164 PLWH and 51 controls, and the longitudinal study included 68 PLWH and 20 controls with 2 or more visits (mean 2.2 years, range 0.8-5.1 years). Gray matter (GM) atrophy rate was significantly higher in PLWH compared with control participants, and importantly, the GM and global atrophy was associated with the various neuropsychological domain scores. Higher volume of white matter hyperintensities were associated with increased atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk score, and decreased executive functioning and memory domain scores in PLWH.

INTERPRETATION: These findings suggest ongoing neurological damage even in virologically controlled participants, with significant implications for clinical management of PLWH. ANN NEUROL 2024.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Neurology
StateE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2024


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