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February 1991

Alterations in Brain Phosphate Metabolite Concentrations in Patients With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Author Affiliations

From the Infectious Diseases Clinic (Drs Jensen and Krell and Mr Parks), Magnetic Resonance Unit (Drs Deicken, Hubesch, Sappey-Marinier, and Weiner), Psychiatry (Drs Vanderburg and Fein), and Psychology Service (Dr Wisniewski) Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, Calif; and the Departments of Medicine (Drs Hubesch, Jensen, Sappey-Marinier, and Weiner), Psychiatry (Drs Deicken and Fein), and Radiology (Drs Hubesch, Sappey-Marinier, and Weiner), University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(2):203-209. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530140099022

• Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—infected individuals often demonstrate neuropsychiatric impairment; however, it is unclear how brain metabolism may be altered in such patients. We used in vivo phosphorus 31 magnetic resonance spectroscopy to noninvasively assess brain energy and phospholipid metabolism by measuring brain concentrations of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), phosphocreatine (PCr), and inorganic phosphate (Pi), as well as phospholipid compounds and intracellular pH. In study 1, 17 HIV-seropositive men with varying degrees of neuropsychiatric impairment and six control subjects were studied. Localized spectra were obtained from a heterogeneous 5 × 5 × 5-cm volume of interest (VOI). Patients with HIV infection had a significantly lower ATP/Pi ratio and a trend for a lower PCr/Pi ratio than did the control group. In addition, the ATP/Pi and PCr/Pi ratios were both significantly negatively correlated with overall severity of neuropsychiatric impairment. In study 2, three HIV-seropositive men with neuropsychiatric impairment were compared with 11 HIV-seronegative men. Localized phosphorus 31 magnetic resonance spectra were obtained from two relatively homogeneous VOIs: (1) a predominantly white matter VOI, and (2) a predominantly subcortical gray matter VOI. The three HIV-infected patients demonstrated significantly decreased ATP and PCr concentrations in the white matter VOI. These results suggest that HIV infection of the brain may impair brain cellular oxidative metabolism and that the degree of metabolic compromise may be related to the severity of neuropsychiatric impairment.

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