DOI: 10.1007/s00259-016-3602-3Pages: 895-902

PET brain imaging in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy

1. Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Department of Infection and Global Health

2. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, HIV Department

3. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Neurology Department

4. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Imaging and Nuclear Medicine Department

5. Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Clinical Imaging Science Centre

Correspondence to:
Jaime H. Vera



Effective combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has lead to a significant reduction in the prevalence and incidence of central nervous system (CNS) HIV-associated brain disease, particularly CNS opportunistic infections and HIV encephalitis. Despite this, cognitive deficits in people living with HIV, also known as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) have become more prevalent in recent years. The pathogenesis of HAND is likely to be multifactorial, however recent evidence suggests that brain microglial activation is the most likely pathogenic mechanism. Recent developments in positron emission tomography (PET) brain neuroimaging using novel brain radioligands targeting a variety of physiological changes in the brains of HIV-positive individuals have improved our understanding of the mechanisms associated with the development of HAND. This review will highlight recent PET brain neuroimaging studies in the cART era, focusing on physiological and neurochemical changes associated with HAND in people living with HIV.

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  • Accepted: Dec 16, 2016
  • Online: Jan 5, 2017

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