Perinatally acquired HIV-infected (PaHIV) young adults undergo neurodevelopment in the presence of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy, which may lead to neurocognitive (NC) impairment. Knowledge of NC function in this group is sparse and control data lacking. We compared cerebral function in young adults with PaHIV infection to aged matched HIV negative family controls.
16-25-year-old PaHIV young adults (Group 1, n = 33) and HIV-uninfected family controls (Group 2, n = 14) were recruited. Cerebral function was evaluated by: a computerized battery assessing NC function (CogState(TM)), International HIV Dementia Scale (IHDS) and the prospective and retrospective memory questionnaire (PRMQ). Eight cases and four controls also underwent (1)H cerebral magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) scanning measuring basal ganglia (BG) metabolites. Cases and controls were compared.
Group 1 mean (SD) CD4 count; 444 (319) cells/μl, plasma HIV viral load < 50 in 55%. There were no statistically significant differences between study groups in NC function or IHDS results (P>0.27 all observations). PRMQ scores were significantly higher (42 versus 35, P = 0.02) and MRS BG inflammatory-metabolites (choline- and myo-inositol- to creatine ratios) were significantly greater in Group 1 versus Group 2 (0.83 versus 0.63, P = 0.02 and 3.43 versus 3.03.P = 0.09 respectively). No significant association between PRMQ score and MRS metabolites was observed (P = 0.89).
Statistically significant differences in cerebral function parameters were observed in PaHIV young adults compared to a well-matched control population. The cognitive deficit observed, in memory, rather than fine motor function, differs from the cerebral impairment often reported in HIV-infected adults.