HIV-related metabolic abnormalities in the brain: depiction with proton MR spectroscopy with short echo times

Radiology. 1996 Jun;199(3):805-10. doi: 10.1148/radiology.199.3.8638009.


Purpose: To analyze brain metabolite changes in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive neurologically asymptomatic patients and patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) dementia complex (ADC).

Materials and methods: Twelve ADC patients, 11 HIV-positive asymptomatic patients, and 10 healthy control subjects underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and proton MR spectroscopy with short echo times. Changes in N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), choline (Cho), myoinositol (MI), and creatine (Cr) were presented as ratios with Cr as the reference.

Results: Statistically significant (P < .05) differences were noted. In ADC patients, all with MR findings of brain atrophy and diffuse white matter disease, NA/Cr decreased (white matter, -31.8%; gray matter, -22.3%), MI/Cr increased (white matter, +42.5%; gray matter, +51.8%), and Cho/Cr increased (white matter, +20.6%; gray matter, +51.7%) compared with healthy control subjects. In HIV-positive asymptomatic patients, NA/Cr decreased slightly (white matter, -6.9%; gray matter, -5.1%), MI/Cr increased slightly (white matter, +13.7%; gray matter, +10.7%), and Cho/Cr did not change.

Conclusion: ADC has a uniform pathologic metabolic pattern that affects NAA, MI, and Cho. Proton MR spectroscopy with short echo times helps detect early abnormalities in clinically asymptomatic patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / diagnosis
  • AIDS Dementia Complex / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / metabolism*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protons
  • Time Factors


  • Protons