New research with metabolomics—the systems biology of small molecules—offers clues into the central nervous system damage sometimes caused by HIV (Wickoff WR et al. J Clin Invest. 10.1172/JCI34138 [published online ahead of print June 2, 2008]).
Investigators at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif, used metabolomic approaches to study rhesus macaques with central nervous system disease caused by simian immunodeficiency virus. During infection, they found increases in the cerebrospinal fluid of certain metabolites, including carnitine, acyl-carnitines, fatty acids, and phospholipid molecules, that correlated with increased expression of specific phospholipases in the brain.
Hampton T. HIV and the Brain. JAMA. 2008;300(5):496. doi:10.1001/jama.300.5.496-d