The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has multiple genetic clades with varying prevalence throughout the world. Both HIV clade C (HIV-C) and HIV clade B (HIV-B) can cause cognitive impairment, but it is unclear if these clades are characterized by similar patterns of brain dysfunction. We examined brain volumetrics and neuropsychological performance among highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-naïve HIV-B and HIV-C participants. Thirty-four HAART-naïve HIV-infected (HIV+) participants [17 HIV-B (USA); 17 HIV-C (South Africa)] and 34 age- and education-matched HIV-uninfected (HIV-) participants were evaluated. All participants underwent similar laboratory, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging studies. Brain volume measures were assessed within the caudate, putamen, amygdala, thalamus, hippocampus, corpus callosum, and cortical (gray and white matter) structures. A linear model that included HIV status, region, and their interaction assessed the effects of the virus on brain volumetrics. HIV- and HIV+ individuals were similar in age. On laboratory examination, HIV-C participants had lower CD4 cell counts and higher plasma HIV viral loads than HIV-B individuals. In general, HIV+ participants performed significantly worse on neuropsychological measures of processing speed and memory and had significantly smaller relative volumetrics within the thalamus, hippocampus, corpus callosum, and cortical gray and white matter compared to the respective HIV- controls. Both HIV-B and HIV-C are associated with similar volumetric declines when compared to matched HIV- controls. HIV-B and HIV-C were associated with significant reductions in brain volumetrics and poorer neuropsychological performance; however, no specific effect of HIV clade subtype was evident. These findings suggest that HIV-B and HIV-C both detrimentally affect brain integrity.
- Brain volumetrics
- HIV clade
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Neuropsychological performance