To characterize the relationship between dispersion-based intra-individual variability (IIVd) in neuropsychological test performance and brain volume among HIV seropositive and seronegative men and to determine the effects of cardiovascular risk and HIV infection on this relationship. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was used to acquire high-resolution neuroanatomic data from 147 men age 50 and over, including 80 HIV seropositive (HIV+) and 67 seronegative controls (HIV-) in this cross-sectional cohort study. Voxel Based Morphometry was used to derive volumetric measurements at the level of the individual voxel. These brain structure maps were analyzed using Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM2). IIVd was measured by computing intra-individual standard deviations (ISD's) from the standardized performance scores of five neuropsychological tests: Wechsler Memory Scale-III Visual Reproduction I and II, Logical Memory I and II, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III Letter Number Sequencing. Total gray matter (GM) volume was inversely associated with IIVd. Among all subjects, IIVd -related GM atrophy was observed primarily in: 1) the inferior frontal gyrus bilaterally, the left inferior temporal gyrus extending to the supramarginal gyrus, spanning the lateral sulcus; 2) the right superior parietal lobule and intraparietal sulcus; and, 3) dorsal/ventral regions of the posterior section of the transverse temporal gyrus. HIV status, biological, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) variables were not linked to IIVd -related GM atrophy. IIVd in neuropsychological test performance may be a sensitive marker of cortical integrity in older adults, regardless of HIV infection status or CVD risk factors, and degree of intra-individual variability links with volume loss in specific cortical regions; independent of mean-level performance on neuropsychological tests.
Keywords: Cognition; HIV; Imaging; Intra-individual variability; Voxel-based morphometry.