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J Int Assoc Provid AIDS Care. 2014 Sep-Oct;13(5):454-60. doi: 10.1177/2325957414535253. Epub 2014 May 16.

Beyond the Brain: The Role of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Viroimmune Responses to Antiretroviral Therapy among People Living with HIV with and without Alcohol Use.

Author information

1
School of Integrated Science and Humanity, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA mjmiguez@fiu.edu.
2
Department of Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.
3
School of Integrated Science and Humanity, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA.
4
Departments of Epidemiology and Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Given the emerging data suggesting the key role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the immune system, we assessed longitudinally whether BDNF depletions induced by hazardous alcohol use (HAU) would impact a response to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

METHODS:

In a prospective single-site cohort, virological and immunological responses to ART in 200 hazardous and 200 nonhazardous users were obtained, along with plasma BDNF levels.

RESULTS:

Hazardous drinkers were more likely to have BDNF levels <4000 pg/mL (odds ratio [OR] = 1.6, P = .01). Participants with BDNF <4000 pg/mL were less likely to have CD4 counts of more than 500 cells/mm(3) (P = .02) and to achieve viral suppression over the follow-up period (OR = 1.5, P = .03). Multivariate analysis confirmed the significant role of HAU and low BDNF in predicting viroimmune responses.

CONCLUSION:

Hazardous alcohol use was associated with BDNF alterations, which in turn were linked to a limited response to ART in terms of viral suppression and CD4 count improvements.

KEYWORDS:

BDNF; CD4; HIV/AIDS; alcohol; viral load

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