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J Neurovirol. 2007 Dec;13(6):561-8.

Associations of cigarette smoking with viral immune and cognitive function in human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive women.

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NeuroAIDS Program, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Cigarette smoking alters the immune system and may improve cognitive deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders. Smoking prevalence is high in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients; however, its effect on HIV-associated cognitive impairment remains unknown in the era of antiretroviral treatment. The authors examined associations of smoking with viral immune profile and cognitive function in a cohort of HIV-seropositive women. This observational cross-sectional study included 56 women (36 HIV-seropositive and 20 HIV-seronegative) surveyed with a tobacco questionnaire: the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependency. Viral immune status was obtained 6 to 12 months before questioned. Neurocognitive testing (NP) assessed verbal memory, frontal/executive function, psychomotor speed, and motor speed. A reference group of HIV-seronegative women was used to calculate standardized z-scores. Cognitive impairment was classified using a modified American Academy of Neurology criteria, adding an asymptomatic group based on NP tests. Statistics included parametric and nonparametric tests. HIV-seropositive women were more likely to report a history of smoking (P = 0.028). Among them, current smoking correlated with higher plasma viral load (P = 0.048), and history of smoking correlated with lower CD4 cell count (P = 0.027). The authors observed no associations between cognitive impairment and either current or past history of smoking and no differences in neurocognitive domain scores between HIV-seropositive and -seronegative women or between those with and without a history of smoking. However, restricting analysis to HIV-seropositives showed a significant better performance on the frontal/executive domain in those with history of smoking. In summary, history of smoking correlated with better frontal/executive cognitive domain performance in HIV-seropositive women and with worse viral immune profile.

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