Diffuse white matter signal abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging are associated with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viral escape in the central nervous system among patients with neurological symptoms

Academic Article


  • Background. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) can replicate independently in extravascular compartments such as the central nervous system, resulting in either cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) discordance (viral load [VL] in CSF 0.5 log10 copies HIV-1 RNA greater than plasma VL) or escape (detection of HIV VL >50 copies/mL in CSF in patients with suppressed plasma VL <50 copies/ mL). Both discordance and escape may be associated with neurological symptoms. We explored risk factors for CSF discordance and escape in patients presenting with diverse neurological problems. Methods. HIV-infected adult patients undergoing diagnostic lumbar puncture (LP) at a single center between 2011 and 2015 were included in the analysis. Clinical and neuroimaging variables associated with CSF discordance/escape were identified using multivariate logistic regression. Results. One hundred forty-six patients with a median age of 45.3 (interquartile range [IQR], 39.6-51.5) years underwent 163 LPs. Median CD4 count was 430 (IQR, 190-620) cells/μL. Twenty-four (14.7%) LPs in 22 patients showed CSF discordance, of which 10 (6.1%) LPs in 9 patients represented CSF escape. In multivariate analysis, both CSF discordance and escape were associated with diffuse white matter signal abnormalities (DWMSAs) on cranial magnetic resonance imaging (adjusted odds ratio, 10.3 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 2.3-45.0], P = .007 and 56.9 [95% CI, 4.0-882.8], P = .01, respectively). All 7 patients with CSF escape (10 LPs) had been diagnosed with HIV >7 years prior to LP, and 6 of 6 patients with resistance data had documented evidence of drug-resistant virus in plasma. Conclusions. Among patients presenting with diverse neurological problems, CSF discordance or escape was observed in 15%, with treatment-experienced patients dominating the escape group. DWMSAs in HIV-infected individuals presenting with neurological problems should raise suspicion of possible CSF discordance/escape.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 19223921
  • Author List

  • Kugathasan R; Collier DA; Haddow LJ; El Bouzidi K; Edwards SG; Cartledge JD; Miller RF; Gupta RK
  • Start Page

  • 1059
  • End Page

  • 1065
  • Volume

  • 64
  • Issue

  • 8