Depressive symptoms are often elevated in acute and chronic HIV. Previous neuroimaging research identifies abnormalities in emotion-related brain regions in depression without HIV, including the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and amygdala. However, no studies have examined the neural signatures of depressive symptoms in acute HIV infection (AHI). Seed-based voxelwise resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) for affective seed regions of interest (pregenual ACC, subgenual ACC [sgACC], bilateral amygdala) was computed for 74 Thai males with AHI and 30 Thai HIV-uninfected controls. Group analyses compared rsFC of ACC and amygdala seed regions between AHI and uninfected control groups. Within the AHI group, voxelwise regression analyses investigated the relationship between depressive symptoms and rsFC for these affective seed regions. Group analyses revealed alterations in rsFC of the amygdala in AHI versus uninfected controls. Depressive symptoms associated with decreased rsFC between ACC regions and posterior cingulate/precuneus, medial temporal, and lateral parietal regions in AHI. Symptoms of depression also correlated to increased rsFC between ACC regions and lateral prefrontal cortex, sgACC, and cerebellum in AHI. Similar to the ACC, depressive symptoms associated with decreased rsFC between amygdala and precuneus. Of blood biomarkers, only HIV RNA inversely correlated with rsFC between posterior sgACC and left uncus. We found that depressive symptoms in AHI associate with altered rsFC of ACC and amygdala regions previously implicated in depression. Longitudinal research in this cohort will be necessary to determine whether these early alterations in rsFC of affective network regions are related to persistent depressive symptoms after combination antiretroviral therapy.
Keywords: Acute HIV infection; Amygdala; Anterior cingulate cortex; Depression; Resting-state functional connectivity.