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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1996 Feb 10;12(3):213-22.

A multicenter proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study of neurological complications of AIDS.

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Department of Imaging and Neurology, Middlesex Hospital and University College London Medical School, England.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection as seen in Europe and the United States has predominantly been contracted through male homosexual sex or intravenous drug abuse. In infected subjects, the brain is frequently affected both clinically and neuropathologically. The aim of this multicenter study has been to evaluate the value of single-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in the assessment of the neurological complications of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). MRS (voxel size = 8 ml, TR/TE = 1600/135 msec) was performed in 137 HIV-1-seropositive patients and 64 healthy controls without risk factors at three clinical MR sites operating at 1.5 T. The first result of this multicenter trial is that good reproducibility of results among participating sites was found. This demonstrates the reliability and robustness of MRS in the study of in vivo brain metabolism. In HIV patients, there was no significant correlation between metabolite ratios of brain detected by MRS and CDC grouping of patients or CD4 count. In contrast, the variations of brain metabolite ratios (NA/Cr, NA/Cho, and Cho/Cr) were related to the occurrence of encephalopathy, brain atrophy, or diffuse white matter lesions. There was no significant difference in brain metabolites between male homosexual AIDS patients and male intravenous drug user AIDS patients, whatever their neurological status (neurosymptomatic or neuroasymptomatic). Thus, the mode of transmission of HIV infection does not appear to affect the cerebral changes observed in the proton spectra from AIDS patients. Because of its ease of implementation and high information content, single-voxel proton MRS is likely to play a significant role in the evaluation of HIV-related encephalopathies.

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