Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 66–75 | Cite as

Brain PET Imaging: Value for Understanding the Pathophysiology of HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND)

  • Sanhita Sinharay
  • Dima A. HammoudEmail author
Central Nervous System and Cognition (SS Spudich, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Central Nervous System and Cognition


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review is to summarize recent developments in PET imaging of neuropathologies underlying HIV-associated neurocognitive dysfunction (HAND). We concentrate on the recent post antiretroviral era (ART), highlighting clinical and preclinical brain PET imaging studies.

Recent Findings

In the post ART era, PET imaging has been used to better understand perturbations of glucose metabolism, neuroinflammation, the function of neurotransmitter systems, and amyloid/tau protein deposition in the brains of HIV-infected patients and HIV animal models. Preclinical and translational findings from those studies shed a new light on the complex pathophysiology underlying HAND.


The molecular imaging capabilities of PET in neuro-HIV are great complements for structural imaging modalities. Recent and future PET imaging studies can improve our understanding of neuro-HIV and provide biomarkers of disease progress that could be used as surrogate endpoints in the evaluation of the effectiveness of potential neuroprotective therapies.


HIV HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) Brain PET imaging Inflammation Neurotransmitters Amyloid deposition 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All reported studies with human subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards. All reported studies with animal subjects performed by the authors were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the National Institutes of Health and were performed in accordance with the guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Infectious Disease Imaging, Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Clinical CenterNational Institutes of Health (NIH)BethesdaUSA

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