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Publication Abstract Display
Type: Poster
Title: Higher levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are associated with neurocognitive impairment in HIV disease and methamphetamine dependence.
Authors: Iudicello JE, Rosario D, Morgan EE, Ellis RJ, Woods SP, Grant I, Heaton RK, Letendre SL, and the TMARC Group
Date: 02-12-2014
Abstract:METH and HIV are highly prevalent, commonly co-occur, and exert adverse independent and combined effects the central nervous system, including neurovascular injury and neurocognitive impairment (NCI), but the extent to which these two adverse consequences are linked remains unknown. This study sought to determine whether levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a biomarker of vascular injury, would be elevated in METH and HIV and associated with greater NCI. Participants included 80 individuals classified by METH dependence diagnoses (M+/M-) and HIV serostatus (H+/H-) into four study groups: M-H- (n=20), M+H- (n=21), M-H+ (n=20), and M+H+ (n=18). VEGF was measured by immunoassay in plasma obtained from each participant, who also completed a comprehensive neurocognitive evaluation. VEGF levels were significantly higher in M+H+ individuals relative to both single risk factor groups (M+H- and M-H+; ps < 0.05; Cohenís ds = 0.82 and 0.84, respectively) and the comparison group (M-H-, p < 0.01; Cohenís d = 1.08). Within the entire study sample (n=80), VEGF levels were significantly associated with worse functioning in two neurocognitive domains, working memory (WM, Spearmanís rho=0.30; p=0.02) and speed of information processing (SIP, Spearmanís rho=0.25, p=0.05). These findings provide preliminary evidence suggesting that METH and HIV in combination may confer even greater risk for vascular injury than either risk factor alone, and that METH- and HIV-associated vascular injury may play an important role in the incidence and persistence of NCI. Understanding the vascular processes underlying METH- and HIV-associated NCI is critical for development of novel, more effective pharmacological treatment approaches for neurological and neurocognitive decline in these increasingly common risk conditions.

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