, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 220-229

Alterations in brain metabolism during the first year of HIV infection

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Abstract

Migration of both uninfected and infected monocytes into the brain during acute HIV infection likely initiates metabolic changes that can be observed with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Herein, we measured changes in brain metabolism during the first year of HIV infection and examined the relationship of these metabolite levels to CD16+ monocyte populations measured in the blood. MRS was performed on nine HIV+ subjects identified during acute HIV infection and nine seronegative control subjects. HIV+ subjects were examined within 90 days of an indeterminate Western blot, then again 2 and 6 months later, during early infection. Blood samples were collected for plasma viral RNA and monocyte subset quantification. HIV+ subjects were identified with acute viral ailment and did not display severe cognitive deficits such as dementia or minor cognitive motor disorder. Changes in lipid membrane metabolism (choline levels) in the frontal cortex and white matter were observed during the initial year of HIV infection. Greater numbers of CD16+ monocytes were associated with lower N-acetylaspartate levels and higher choline levels in the brain. These results suggest that HIV infection induces metabolic changes in the brain early during infection and that these changes may be related to monocyte dynamics in the periphery.