Neurological manifestations of HIV disease occur in most adults and children with AIDS. Many of those affected will inevitably suffer clinical neurological deficits involving mental function, movement, and sensation. Surprisingly, there are not as yet adequate monitoring systems to predict the onset and/or progression of HIV infection of the CNS. Neurological, neuropsychological, CSF, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analyses cannot accurately detect mental deterioration during advancing HIV disease. Reports suggest that in vivo proton MR spectroscopy (1H MRS) of the brain could be a predictor of virus-induced neurological deterioration.1-5 H MRS can measure N-acetylaspartate (NAA), a metabolite present only in neurons. Decreased NAA reflects neuronal loss seen during HIV infection of brain. To uncover possible associations between NAA levels and HIV-induced neurological disease we performed serial 1H MRS brain tests in HIV-infected patients with or at risk for encephalopathy. Serial testing, for 1 year, of 10 patients showed that brain NAA levels decreased in all HIV-infected subjects. The most severe NAA reductions were associated with progressive neurological impairment. These findings suggest that NAA can be used as a noninvasive measure of neuronal loss in patients with HIV disease. Most important, the results suggest that 1H MRS could be used to monitor therapeutics directed against HIV infection within the CNS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases