High HIV-1 DNA (HIV DNA) levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) correlate with HIV-1-associated dementia (HAD) in patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). If this relationship also exists among HAART-naïve patients, then HIV DNA may be implicated in the pathogenesis of HAD. In this study, we evaluated the relationship between HIV DNA and cognition in subjects naïve to HAART in a neuro AIDS cohort in Bangkok, Thailand. Subjects with and without HAD were recruited and matched for age, gender, education, and CD4 cell count. PBMC and cellular subsets were analyzed for HIV DNA using real-time PCR. The median log10 HIV DNA copies per 106 PBMC for subjects with HAD (n=15) was 4.27, which was higher than that found in subjects without dementia (ND; n=15), 2.28, p<0.001. This finding was unchanged in a multivariate model adjusting for plasma HIV-1 RNA levels. From a small subset of individuals, in which adequate number of cells were available, more HIV DNA was in monocytes/macrophages from those with HAD compared to those with ND. These results are consistent with a previous report among HAART-experienced subjects, thus further implicating HIV DNA in the pathogenesis of HAD.
Shiramizu, B., Ratto-Kim, S., Sithinamsuwan, P., Nidhinandana, S., Thitivichianlert, S., Watt, G., … Valcour, V. (2006). HIV DNA and Dementia in Treatment-Naive HIV-1-Infected Individuals in Bangkok, Thailand. International Journal of Medical Sciences, 4(1), 13–18.