Imaging the brain distribution of translocator protein (TSPO), a putative biomarker for glial cell activation and neuroinflammation, may inform management of individuals infected with HIV by uncovering regional abnormalities related to neurocognitive deficits and enable non-invasive therapeutic monitoring. Using the second-generation TSPO-targeted radiotracer, [11C]DPA-713, we conducted a positron emission tomography (PET) study to compare the brains of 12 healthy human subjects to those of 23 individuals with HIV who were effectively treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Compared to PET data from age-matched healthy control subjects, [11C]DPA-713 PET of individuals infected with HIV demonstrated significantly higher volume-of-distribution (VT) ratios in white matter, cingulate cortex, and supramarginal gyrus, relative to overall gray matter VT, suggesting localized glial cell activation in susceptible regions. Regional TSPO abnormalities were evident within a sub-cohort of neuro-asymptomatic HIV subjects, and an increase in the VT ratio within frontal cortex was specifically linked to individuals affected with HIV-associated dementia. These findings were enabled by employing a gray matter normalization approach for PET data quantification, which improved test - retest reproducibility, intra-class correlation within the healthy control cohort, and sensitivity of uncovering abnormal regional findings.
- HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder
- Molecular neuroimaging
- Neuro aids
- Translocator protein