Compromised fronto-striatal functioning in HIV: an fMRI investigation of semantic event sequencing

Behav Brain Res. 2008 Apr 9;188(2):337-47. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2007.11.021. Epub 2007 Dec 5.


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) damages fronto-striatal regions, and is associated with deficits in executive functioning. We recently developed a semantic event sequencing task based on the Picture Arrangement subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III for use with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and found recruitment of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia in healthy participants. To assess the impact of HIV on the functioning of the basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex, we administered this task to 11 HIV+ and 11 Control participants matched for age and education. Neuropsychological evaluation demonstrated that the HIV+ group had mild impairment in memory retrieval and motor functioning, but was not demented. Morphometric measurements suggested no atrophy in basal ganglia regions. The results of the fMRI analysis revealed hypoactivation of the left caudate, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and bilateral ventral prefrontal cortex in the HIV+ group. Functional connectivity analysis demonstrated less functional connectivity between the caudate and prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia regions in the HIV+ group. In contrast, the HIV+ group demonstrated increased activation of right postcentral/supramarginal gyrus, and greater connectivity between the caudate and this same anterior parietal region. The results of this study extend previous investigations by demonstrating compromised function of the caudate and connected prefrontal regions in HIV during cognition. This disruption of fronto-striatal circuitry likely precedes the development of cognitive impairment in HIV.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Corpus Striatum / blood supply*
  • Corpus Striatum / virology
  • Frontal Lobe / blood supply*
  • Frontal Lobe / virology
  • HIV Infections / pathology*
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Semantics*


  • Oxygen