Journal of NeuroVirology

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 303–312 | Cite as

Cerebrovascular risk factors and brain microstructural abnormalities on diffusion tensor images in HIV-infected individuals

  • Beau K. Nakamoto
  • Neda Jahanshad
  • Aaron McMurtray
  • Kalpana J. Kallianpur
  • Dominic C. Chow
  • Victor G. Valcour
  • Robert H. Paul
  • Liron Marotz
  • Paul M. Thompson
  • Cecilia M. Shikuma


HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder remains prevalent in HIV-infected individuals despite effective antiretroviral therapy. As these individuals age, comorbid cerebrovascular disease will likely impact cognitive function. Effective tools to study this impact are needed. This study used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to characterize brain microstructural changes in HIV-infected individuals with and without cerebrovascular risk factors. Diffusion-weighted MRIs were obtained in 22 HIV-infected subjects aged 50 years or older (mean age = 58 years, standard deviation = 6 years; 19 males, three females). Tensors were calculated to obtain fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) maps. Statistical comparisons accounting for multiple comparisons were made between groups with and without cerebrovascular risk factors. Abnormal glucose metabolism (i.e., impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or diabetes mellitus) was associated with significantly higher MD (false discovery rate (FDR) critical p value = 0.008) and lower FA (FDR critical p value = 0.002) in the caudate and lower FA in the hippocampus (FDR critical p value = 0.004). Pearson correlations were performed between DTI measures in the caudate and hippocampus and age- and education-adjusted composite scores of global cognitive function, memory, and psychomotor speed. There were no detectable correlations between the neuroimaging measures and measures of cognition. In summary, we demonstrate that brain microstructural abnormalities are associated with abnormal glucose metabolism in the caudate and hippocampus of HIV-infected individuals. Deep gray matter structures and the hippocampus may be vulnerable in subjects with comorbid abnormal glucose metabolism, but our results should be confirmed in further studies.


HIV Cerebrovascular disease Diffusion tensor imaging 




Apolipoprotein epsilon 4


Adult Treatment Panel III


Beck Depression Inventory II


Combination antiretroviral therapy


Diastolic blood pressure


Diffusion tensor imaging


Fractional anisotropy


False discovery rate


Insulin-degrading enzyme


Mean diffusivity


Age- and education-adjusted composite score of memory


Age- and education-adjusted composite score of psychomotor speed


Age- and education-adjusted composite score of global cognitive function


2-h oral glucose tolerance test


Positron emission tomography


Regions of interest


Systolic blood pressure


Standard deviation



BKN, KJK, DCC, and CMS are funded in part by research grants P20RR011091, U54NS43049, and U54RR026136. NJ and PT are funded in part by R01 EB008432 and EB 007813, and R01 AG040060 and a UCLA Medical Informatics Fellowship (NJ).


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Copyright information

© Journal of NeuroVirology, Inc. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beau K. Nakamoto
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Neda Jahanshad
    • 3
  • Aaron McMurtray
    • 4
  • Kalpana J. Kallianpur
    • 1
  • Dominic C. Chow
    • 1
  • Victor G. Valcour
    • 5
  • Robert H. Paul
    • 6
  • Liron Marotz
    • 1
  • Paul M. Thompson
    • 3
  • Cecilia M. Shikuma
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Straub Clinics and HospitalHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Departments of Neurology and PsychiatryUCLA School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Ventura County Medical CenterVenturaUSA
  5. 5.University of California at San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  6. 6.University of MissouriSt. LouisUSA
  7. 7.Hawaii Center for AIDS, John A. Burns School of MedicineUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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