Peripheral inflammation linked to structural brain changes and reduced blood flow despite suppressive ART

Kirk Taylor, HIV i-Base

A cohort study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases reported an association between increased inflammatory markers and declining cerebral blood flow (CBF) and brain volume for people with undetectable viral load. 

A cohort of people living with HIV (n=173) with undetectable viral load (<50 copies/mL) were recruited to evaluate markers of inflammation and changes in brain structure and CBF.

Correlations were reported between reduced CD4/CD8 ratio and lower brain volume (total cortex and grey matter). These changes coincided with increased levels of inflammatory (CD16+) monocytes. Reduced CBF in the parietal, temporal and occipital regions of the brain was associated with increased plasma levels of the inflammatory marker CD14.

The underlying mechanism by which these changes occur remains unclear.


Burdo et al. Increased peripheral inflammation is associated with structural brain changes and reduced blood flow in virologically controlled people with HIV. Journal of Infectious Diseases. Jiad229 DOI:10.1093/infdis/jiad229. (23 June 2023).

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