Molecular Imaging of Neuroinflammation in HIV

  • Anna Boerwinkle
  • Beau M. Ances


The development of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) has increased the lifespan of persons living with HIV (PLWH), with most PLWH having a normal life expectancy. While significant progress has occurred, PLWH continue to have multiple health complications, including HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). While the exact cause of HAND is not known, persistent neuroinflammation is hypothesized to be an important potential contributor. Molecular imaging using positron emission tomography (PET) can non-invasively evaluate neuroinflammation. PET radiotracers specific for increased expression of the translocator protein18kDa (TSPO) on activated microglia can detect the presence of neuroinflammation in PLWH. However, results from these studies have been inconsistent and inconclusive. Future studies are needed to address key limitations that continue to persist with these techniques before accurate conclusions can be drawn regarding the role of persistent neuroinflammation in PLWH.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment (HAND) Neuroinflammation Positron emission tomography (PET) Translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) 


Author Contributions

A.B and B.M.A conceived the study; A.B. analyzed the data; and A.B and B.M.A wrote the paper.


The study was supported by grants from the National Institute for Nursing Research (R01NR014449 and R01NR015738), the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH118031), the Paula O and Rodger Riney Research Fund, and the Daniel J Brennan MD Research Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyWashington University in Saint LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Hope Center for Neurological DisordersWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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