Antiretroviral therapy in HIV infection: are neurologically active drugs important?

Faculty of Medicine, St Vincent's Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
JAMA Neurology (Impact Factor: 7.01). 12/2004; 61(11):1699-704. DOI: 10.1001/archneur.61.11.1699
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The effect on neuropsychological function of antiretroviral drugs that are able to penetrate into the brain in effective concentration (neuroactive drugs) remains unclear.
To investigate whether highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) containing neuroactive drugs is associated with better neuropsychological performance in patients with human immunodeficiency virus disease.
Cross-sectional survey.
Tertiary referral hospital outpatient clinics.
The study population consisted of 97 individuals positive for human immunodeficiency virus (stage C3, 1993 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classification) whose condition had been stable on their current HAART regimen for a mean +/- SD of 18.5 +/- 16.5 months and who were aged 48.14 +/- 9.38 years. The patient groups were analyzed according to whether their regimen contained 3 or more neuroactive drugs (neuroHAART group; n = 41) or not (HAART group; n = 56). Thirty seronegative men matched for age and education were recruited as controls.
Neuropsychological performance on 7 cognitive domains.
The neuroHAART and HAART groups did not differ from one another on neuropsychological performance, but both patient groups were impaired compared with controls. Impaired patients in each treatment group were compared, and the neuroHAART group showed significantly better memory performance, unrelated to plasma viral load, than the HAART group.
No direct benefit of neuroactive HAART therapy was found in patients with advanced human immunodeficiency virus infection. However, in neuropsychologically impaired patients, there was a benefit in memory function. This suggests that a threshold of neuropsychological impairment is required for the benefit of neuroactive HAART.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The role of brain HIV load in the pathogenesis of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) is unclear. To try and determine if the amount of HIV drives the severity of pathology, a severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mouse model of HIV encephalitis (HIVE) was utilized to determine the effectiveness of a systemically administered combined antiretroviral (cART) regimen. SCID mice were inoculated intracerebrally with HIV-infected or uninfected (control) human macrophages and treated subcutaneously with cART or saline for 10 days. Immunohistochemistry was then used to examine gliosis and neuronal damage. Drug levels were measured in brain and plasma using high-performance liquid chromatography. Peak plasma and brain levels of atazanavir, tenofovir, and emtricitabine were determined to be 1 h post-injection of cART therapy. cART significantly reduced neuropathological features of HIVE, including astrogliosis and the presence of mononuclear phagocytes, and ameliorated reduced MAP2 (neuronal integrity) staining. However, cART did not eradicate HIV from the brain. Using this animal model of HIVE, these data indicate effective penetration of cART reduces brain viral loads and HIV pathology, possibly by eliminating the production of HIV proteins, virus infected cells, or both. Importantly, these data suggest that viral load directly affects the extent of pathology seen in the brain, particularly neuronal damage, which implies that more effective suppression of HIV in the CNS could reduce currently highly prevalent forms of HAND. However, these data also strongly suggest that cART will not eliminate HIV from the brain and that adjunctive therapies must be developed.
    Journal of NeuroVirology 01/2014; 20(1). · 2.85 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is unknown if, compared to a triple drug antiretroviral therapy, boosted protease inhibitor monotherapy leads to worse results in specific neuropsychological processes. In our study, we included patients virologically suppressed (≥1 year), on antiretroviral therapy, without concomitant major neurocognitive confounders, receiving boosted lopinavir or darunavir as monotherapy (n = 96) or as triple therapy with two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (n = 95). All patients underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery (14 neuropsychological measures, covering seven domains). Both groups were compared in average score distributions and rates of neuropsychological deficits. Similar comparisons were conducted only for patients with neurocognitive impairment. In the adjusted analysis, we found only small differences between groups in the entire sample: better verbal learning (p = 0.02; d = 0.28) and verbal recall scores (p < 0.01; d = 0.25) in patients on boosted protease inhibitor monotherapy and slightly better motor skills with dominant hand (p = 0.02; d = 0.23) scores in patients on triple therapy. No greater proportion of deficits in the protease inhibitor monotherapy group was found in any neuropsychological measure. In neurocognitively impaired patients, we found similar outcomes in verbal learning, verbal recall, and motor skills with dominant hand but with larger effect sizes. Close similarities in the neurocognitive pattern between groups question the clinical relevance of the number of neuroactive drugs included in the regimen. These results also suggest that peripheral viral load control may be a good indicator of brain protection.
    Journal of NeuroVirology 04/2014; 20(4). · 2.85 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite the success of antiretroviral therapy (ART), perinatally infected HIV remains a major health problem worldwide. Although advance neuroimaging studies have investigated structural brain changes in HIV-infected adults, regional gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volume changes have not been reported in perinatally HIV-infected adolescents and young adults. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated regional GM and WM changes in 16 HIV-infected youths receiving ART (age 17.0 ± 2.9 years) compared with age-matched 14 healthy controls (age 16.3 ± 2.3 years) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based high-resolution T1-weighted images with voxel based morphometry (VBM) analyses. White matter atrophy appeared in perinatally HIV-infected youths in brain areas including the bilateral posterior corpus callosum (CC), bilateral external capsule, bilateral ventral temporal WM, mid cerebral peduncles, and basal pons over controls. Gray matter volume increase was observed in HIV-infected youths for several regions including the left superior frontal gyrus, inferior occipital gyrus, gyrus rectus, right mid cingulum, parahippocampal gyrus, bilateral inferior temporal gyrus, and middle temporal gyrus compared with controls. Global WM and GM volumes did not differ significantly between groups. These results indicate WM injury in perinatally HIV-infected youths, but the interpretation of the GM results, which appeared as increased regional volumes, is not clear. Further longitudinal studies are needed to clarify if our results represent active ongoing brain infection or toxicity from HIV treatment resulting in neuronal cell swelling and regional increased GM volume. Our findings suggest that assessment of regional GM and WM volume changes, based on VBM procedures, may be an additional measure to assess brain integrity in HIV-infected youths and to evaluate success of current ART therapy for efficacy in the brain.
    NeuroImage: Clinical. 01/2014; 4:29–34.