Blood-based inflammation biomarkers of neurocognitive impairment in people living with HIV

Naomi Swanta, Subhash Aryal, Vicki Nejtek, Sangeeta Shenoy, Anuja Ghorpade, Kathleen Borgmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Inflammation in people living with HIV (PLWH) correlates with severity of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. The objective of this study is to identify blood-based markers of neurocognitive function in a demographic balanced cohort of PLWH. Seven neurocognitive domains were evaluated in 121 seropositive Black/African American, Non-Hispanic White, and White Hispanic men and women using computerized assessments. Associations among standardized neurocognitive function and HIV-related parameters, relevant sociodemographic variables, and inflammation-associated cytokines measured in plasma and cellular supernatants were examined using multivariate and univariate regression models. Outlier and covariate analyses were used to identify and normalize for education level, CD4 T cell count, viral load, CNS and drug abuse comorbidities, which could influence biomarker and neurocognitive function associations. Plasma levels of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand (CCL) 8 significantly associated with memory, complex attention, cognitive flexibility, psychomotor speed, executive function, and processing speed. Plasma tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 1 associated with the aforementioned domains except memory and processing speed. In addition, plasma interleukin-23 significantly associated with processing speed and executive function. Analysis of peripheral blood cell culture supernatants revealed no significant markers for neurocognitive function. In this cohort, CD4 T cell count and education level also significantly associated with neurocognitive function. All identified inflammatory biomarkers demonstrated a negative correlation to neurocognitive function. These cytokines have known connections to HIV pathophysiology and are potential biomarkers for neurocognitive function in PLWH with promising clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of NeuroVirology
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020



  • CNS
  • Chronic immune activation
  • HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND)
  • Health disparities

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