Body mass index, inflammatory biomarkers and neurocognitive impairment in HIV-infected persons

Psychol Health Med. 2017 Mar;22(3):289-302. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2016.1199887. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


To determine the relationships among body mass index (BMI), and HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment and the potential mediating effects of inflammatory cytokines. Among the HIV-infected individuals (N = 90) included in this study, obesity was associated with slower processing speed (β = -.229, standard error (SE) = 2.15, p = .033), compared to participants with a normal BMI, after controlling for psychosocial and HIV clinical factors. Serum concentrations of the interleukin-16 (IL-16) cytokine were significantly associated with slowed processing speed (β = -.235, SE = 1.62, p = .033) but did not mediate the relationship between obesity and processing speed These findings suggest that obesity may contribute to cognitive processing speed deficits in HIV-infected adults. Elevated concentrations of IL-16 are also associated with slowing, though the results suggest that obesity and IL-16 may exert independent effects.

Keywords: HIV; body mass index; cytokines; inflammation; neurocognition.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cognition Disorders*
  • Cytokines
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins