Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2014;36(8):854-66. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2014.950636. Epub 2014 Oct 2.

Apathy is associated with white matter abnormalities in anterior, medial brain regions in persons with HIV infection.

Author information

a San Diego University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology , San Diego , CA , USA.


Apathy is a relatively common psychiatric syndrome in HIV infection, but little is known about its neural correlates. In the present study, we examined the associations between apathy and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) indices in key frontal white matter regions in the thalamocorticostriatal circuit, which has been implicated in the expression of apathy. Nineteen participants with HIV infection and 19 demographically comparable seronegative comparison subjects completed the Apathy subscale of the Frontal Systems Behavioral Scale as a part of a comprehensive neuropsychiatric research evaluation. When compared to the seronegative participants, the HIV+ group had significantly more frontal white matter abnormalities. Within HIV+ persons, and as predicted, higher ratings of apathy were associated with greater white matter alterations in the anterior corona radiata, genu, and orbital medial prefrontal cortex. The associations between white matter alterations and apathy were independent of depression and were stronger among participants with lower current cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) counts. All told, these findings indicate that apathy is independently associated with white matter abnormalities in anterior, medial brain regions in persons infected with HIV, particularly in the setting of lower current immune functioning, which may have implications for antiretroviral therapy.


Apathy; Depression; Diffusion tensor imaging; HIV/AIDS; Prefrontal cortex

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center