Metabolic Brain Disease

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 207–212

Thiamine deficiency and wernicke's encephalopathy in AIDS

  • Roger F. Butterworth
  • Christiane Gaudreau
  • Jean Vincelette
  • Anne-Marie Bourgault
  • Francois Lamothe
  • Anne-Marie Nutini
Original Contributions

DOI: 10.1007/BF00996920

Cite this article as:
Butterworth, R.F., Gaudreau, C., Vincelette, J. et al. Metab Brain Dis (1991) 6: 207. doi:10.1007/BF00996920

Abstract

Several neuropathological reports in the last 5 years have described brain lesions characteristic of Wernicke's Encephalopathy in patients with AIDS. Using the erythrocyte transketolase activation assay, we now report biochemical evidence of thiamine deficiency in 9/39 (23%) of patients with AIDS or AIDS-related complex. In no cases was there history of alcohol abuse nor were there clinical signs of Wernicke's Encephalopathy. Thiamine deficiency in these patients most likely results from the cachexia and catabolic state characteristic of AIDS. In view of (i) the confirmed neuropathological evidence of Wernicke's Encephalopathy in AIDS patients, (ii) the significant thiamine deficiency in these patients and (iii) the difficulties of clinical diagnosis of Wernicke's Encephalopathy, it is recommended that dietary thiamine supplementation be initiated in all newly diagnosed cases of AIDS or AIDS-related complex.

Key words

AIDSAIDS-related complexthiamine deficiencyWernicke's Encephalopathyα-ketoglutarate dehydrogenasetransketolase

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger F. Butterworth
    • 1
  • Christiane Gaudreau
    • 2
  • Jean Vincelette
    • 2
  • Anne-Marie Bourgault
    • 2
  • Francois Lamothe
    • 2
  • Anne-Marie Nutini
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of Neurochemistry, André-Viallet Clinical Research CenterHôpital Saint-Luc (University of Montreal)MontrealCanada
  2. 2.Microbiology ServiceHôpital Saint-Luc (University of Montreal)MontrealCanada
  3. 3.Hematology ServiceHôpital Saint-Luc (University of Montreal)MontrealCanada