Increasing Neuroinflammation Relates to Increasing Neurodegeneration in People with HIV

Azin Tavasoli, Benjamin B. Gelman, Christina M. Marra, David B. Clifford, Jennifer E. Iudicello, Leah H. Rubin, Scott L. Letendre, Bin Tang, Ronald J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: HIV infection causes neuroinflammation and immune activation (NIIA) and systemic inflammation and immune activation (SIIA), which in turn drive neurodegeneration (ND). Cross-sectionally, higher levels of NIIA biomarkers correlate with increased biomarkers of ND. A more convincing confirmation would be a longitudinal demonstration. Methods: PWH in the US multisite CHARTER Aging project were assessed at a baseline visit and after 12 years using standardized evaluations. We measured a panel of 14 biomarkers of NIIA, SIIA, and ND in plasma and CSF at two time points and calculated changes from baseline to the 12-year visit. Factor analysis yielded simplified indices of NIIA, SIIA, and ND. Results: The CSF NIIA factor analysis yielded Factor1 loading on soluble tumor necrosis factor type-2 (sTNFR-II) and neopterin, and Factor2, loading on MCP1, soluble CD14, and IL-6. The SIIA factor analysis yielded Factor1 loading on CRP, D-dimer, and Neopterin; Factor2 loading on sTNFR-II. The ND analysis yielded Factor1 loading on Phosphorylated tau (p-tau) and Aβ42; Factor2 loading on NFL. NIIA Factor1, but not Factor2, correlated with increases in CSF NFL (r = 0.370, p = 0.0002). Conclusions: Increases in NIIA and SIIA in PWH were associated with corresponding increases in ND, suggesting that reducing neuro/systemic inflammation might slow or reverse neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1835
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • HIV
  • inflammatory biomarkers
  • neurodegeneration
  • neuroinflammation
  • viral suppression


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