The overall value of initiating anti-retroviral therapy during the acute phase of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection remains unclear. From a clinical perspective, the lack of data from controlled randomized clinical trials limits understanding of long-term effects of treatment on the clinical course of HIV infection. Based on available data, the impact of anti-retroviral therapy during acute infection on the immune response against HIV-1 is not particularly encouraging. Recent observations on the very early depletion of lymphocyte reservoirs in the gastrointestinal tract may partially explain the limited benefit of anti-retroviral therapy initiated during the acute phase of HIV-1 infection. This may also help to explain the dichotomy between early observations demonstrating apparent immunological benefit with early anti-retroviral treatment that were associated none the less with inability to control viral replication following treatment interruption.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: During 25 years of research since HIV-1 was first identified in Paris, there have been great advances in our understanding of the virus and of the immune system. Practical advances include the early development of diagnostic tests of infection that made blood donation safe, and since 1996, combination anti-retroviral therapy that has great reduced incidence of AIDS in HIV-infected people who have access to the drugs. HIV prevention through behavioural change has been successful, and we do not yet have any safe and efficacious microbicides or vaccines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Health care providers are faced with a number of challenges with regard to acute HIV infection. The first of these is recognition, because the acute retroviral symptoms mimic a number of other viral infections. The second challenge is treatment, as treating early HIV has a number of benefits and risks both on an individual and a public health level. This review hopes to address some of these questions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To determine if changes in brain metabolites are observed during early HIV infection and correlate these changes with immunologic alterations.
Eight subjects with early HIV infection, 9 HIV-seronegative controls, and 10 chronically HIV-infected subjects without neurologic impairment underwent 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Subjects with early stage infection were identified near the time of HIV seroconversion and imaged within 60 days of an evolving Western blot, while still having detectable plasma virus. Subjects had blood drawn for viral RNA and T cell quantification.
Both N-acetylaspartate (NAA) and Glx (glutamate + glutamine) were decreased in the frontal cortical gray matter of seropositive subjects. NAA levels were found to be decreased in the centrum semiovale white matter of chronically HIV-infected subjects, but not in those with early infection. Both HIV-infected cohorts demonstrated a lower number of CD4+ T lymphocytes and a higher number of CD8+ T lymphocytes in their blood. Lower NAA levels in the frontal cortex of subjects with early infection were associated with an expansion of CD8+ T cells, especially effector CD8+ T cells.
These results verify metabolism changes occurring in the brain early during HIV infection. Lower NAA and Glx levels in the cortical gray matter suggests that HIV causes neuronal dysfunction soon after infection, which correlates to the expansion of CD8+ T cells, specifically to an activated phenotype. Utilizing magnetic resonance spectroscopy to track NAA levels may provide important information on brain metabolic health while allowing better understanding of the virus-host interactions involved in CNS functional deficits.