Perfusion MRI detects rCBF abnormalities in early stages of HIV–cognitive motor complex

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Objective:To evaluate patients with early HIV–cognitive motor complex (HIV-CMC) for possible regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) abnormalities on perfusion MRI (pMRI).Background:Nuclear medicine techniques have demonstrated global and focal cerebral perfusion abnormalities in patients with HIV dementia. Ultrafast pMRI enables the measurement of rCBF throughout the brain without the need to apply radioactive tracers or ionizing radiation.Methods:pMRI was used to measure the rCBF in 19 patients with early stages of HIV-CMC and 15 healthy seronegative control subjects. The rCBF maps were registered to high-resolution anatomic MRI scans and transformed into Talairach space. Statistical analysis of the rCBF maps was performed with SPM96.Results:Compared with the control subjects, the patients with HIV had statistically significantly decreased rCBF bilaterally in the inferior lateral frontal cortices (right: −15%, p < 0.002; left: −12%, p < 0.005) and in the inferior medial parietal brain region (−15%, p < 0.0009). In contrast, rCBF was increased bilaterally in the posterior inferior parietal white matter (right: +19%, p < 0.0001; left: +17%, p < 0.001). Furthermore, rCBF abnormalities correlated significantly with clinical disease severity as measured by CD4 count, plasma viral load, Karnofsky score, and HIV dementia scale.Discussion:Our results are consistent with previous findings from PET and SPECT studies. Furthermore, pMRI can detect rCBF abnormalities that correlate with disease severity in HIV-CMC. Because pMRI is more cost-effective, faster, and safer than nuclear medicine techniques for monitoring rCBF changes, pMRI may be more feasible for monitoring the effects of therapy for HIV-CMC.

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