Publication Abstract Display
Type: Published Manuscript
Title: HIV peripheral neuropathy-related degeneration of white matter tracts to sensorimotor cortex.
Authors: Timtim SH, Simmons AN, Hays C, Strigo I, Sorg S, Ellis R, Keltner JR
Year: 2022
Publication: Journal of Neurovirology
Volume: 28 Issue: 4-6 Pages: 505-513
Abstract:Human immunodeficiency virus-associated distal sensory polyneuropathy (HIV-DSP) affects up to 50% of people with HIV and is associated with depression, unemployment, and generally worsened quality of life. Previous work on the cortical mechanism of HIV neuropathy found decreased gray matter volume in the bilateral midbrain, thalamus, and posterior cingulate cortex, but structural connectivity in this context remains under-studied. Here we examine alterations in white matter microstructure using diffusion imaging, hypothesizing that cortical white matter degeneration would be observed in continuation of the peripheral white matter atrophy previously observed in HIV-DSP. Male HIV seropositive patients (n = 57) experiencing varying degrees of HIV neuropathy underwent single-shell diffusion tensor imaging with 51 sampling directions. The scans were pooled using tractography and connectometry to create a quantitative map of white matter tract integrity, measured in generalized fractional anisotropy (GFA). The relationship between GFA and neuropathy severity was evaluated with linear regression. Correction for multiple comparisons was done using false discovery rate (FDR), a statistical method commonly used in genomics and imaging to minimize false positives when thousands of individual comparisons are made. Neuropathy severity was associated with decreased GFA along thalamocortical radiations leading along the lateral thalamus to sensorimotor cortex, with r = -0.405 (p < 0.001; FDR), as well as with the superior bilateral cingulum (r = -0.346 (p < 0.05; FDR)). Among a population of HIV neuropathy patients, greater neuropathy severity was correlated with lower white matter integrity running from midbrain to somatosensory cortex. This suggests ascending deafferentation extending from damaged peripheral nerves further downstream than seen previously, into the axons of third-order neurons. There is also evidence of cingulum degeneration, implying some more complex mechanism beyond the ascending atrophy observed here.

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