Neurometabolite alterations associated with cognitive performance in perinatally HIV-infected children

Yvonne W. Van Dalen, Charlotte Blokhuis*, Sophie Cohen, Jacqueline A. Ter Stege, Charlotte E. Teunissen, Jens Kuhle, Neeltje A. Kootstra, Henriette J. Scherpbier, Taco W. Kuijpers, Peter Reiss, Charles B L M Majoie, Matthan W A Caan, Dasja Pajkrt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Despite treatment with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), cognitive impairment is still observed in perinatally HIVinfected children. We aimed to evaluate potential underlying cerebral injury by comparing neurometabolite levels between perinatally HIVinfected children and healthy controls. This cross-sectional study evaluated neurometabolites, as measured by Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), in perinatally HIV-infected children stable on cART (n=26) and healthy controls (n=36). Participants were included from a cohort of perinatally HIV-infected children and healthy controls, matched group-wise for age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. N-acetylaspartate (NAA), glutamate (Glu), myo-inositol (mI), and choline (Cho) levels were studied as ratios over creatine (Cre). Group differences and associations with HIVrelated parameters, cognitive functioning, and neuronal damage markers (neurofilament and total Tau proteins) were determined using ageadjusted linear regression analyses. HIV-infected children had increased Cho:Cre in white matter (HIVinfected =0.29±0.03; controls=0.27±0.03; P value=0.045). Lower nadir CD4+ T-cell Z-scores were associated with reduced neuronal integrity markers NAA:Cre and Glu:Cre. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stage C diagnosis was associated with higher glial markers Cho:Cre and mI:Cre. Poorer cognitive performance was mainly associated with higher Cho:Cre in HIV-infected children, and with lower NAA:Cre and Glu:Cre in healthy controls. There were no associations between neurometabolites and neuronal damage markers in blood or CSF. Compared to controls, perinatally HIV-infected children had increased Cho:Cre in white matter, suggestive of ongoing glial proliferation. Levels of several neurometabolites were associated with cognitive performance, suggesting that MRS may be a useful method to assess cerebral changes potentially linked to cognitive outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3093
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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