Marked increase of the astrocytic marker S100B in the cerebrospinal fluid of HIV-infected patients on LPV/r-monotherapy

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To determine changes of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of patients on monotherapy with lopinavir/ritonavir.


The Monotherapy Switzerland/Thailand study (MOST) trial compared monotherapy with ritonavir-boosted lopinavir with continued therapy. The trial was prematurely stopped due to virological failure in six patients on monotherapy. It, thus, offers a unique opportunity to assess brain markers in the early stage of HIV virological escape.


Sixty-five CSF samples (34 on continued therapy and 31 on monotherapy) from 49 HIV-positive patients enrolled in MOST. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we determined the CSF concentration of S100B (astrocytosis), neopterin (inflammation), total Tau (tTau), phosphorylated Tau (pTau), and amyloid-β 1–42 (Aβ), the latter three indicating neuronal damage. Controls were CSF samples of 29 HIV-negative patients with Alzheimer dementia.


In the CSF of monotherapy, concentrations of S100B and neopterin were significantly higher than in continued therapy (P = 0.006 and P = 0.013, respectively) and Alzheimer dementia patients (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0005, respectively). In Alzheimer dementia, concentration of Aβ was lower than in monotherapy (P = 0.005) and continued therapy (P = 0.016) and concentrations of tTau were higher than in monotherapy (P = 0.019) and continued therapy (P = 0.001). There was no difference in pTau among the three groups. After removal of the 16 CSF with detectable viral load in the blood and/or CSF, only S100B remained significantly higher in monotherapy than in the two other groups.


Despite full viral load-suppression in blood and CSF, antiretroviral monotherapy with lopinavir/ritonavir can raise CSF levels of S100B, suggesting astrocytic damage.

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