Cerebral proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in asymptomatic HIV infection

AIDS. 1997 Mar;11(3):289-95. doi: 10.1097/00002030-199703110-00005.


Objective: To determine whether proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) demonstrates central nervous system abnormalities in asymptomatic HIV-1-infected individuals.

Design: Both prospective and retrospective cross-sectional analyses of MRS in asymptomatic HIV-infected individuals.

Setting: Two specialists HIV/AIDS outpatient facilities in London.

Participants: Eighty-four HIV-1 seropositive asymptomatic men; 29 HIV-1 antibody-negative homosexual men at high-risk for HIV infection and 48 HIV-1 antibody-negative men at low-risk for HIV infection as controls.

Main outcome measures: Single voxel, gradient-localized proton MRS performed at 1.5 T with 135 msec echo-time and 1,600 msec repeat-time in an 8 ml volume of interest positioned in the parieto-occipital white matter. Spectroscopic results were expressed as ratios between the areas under the N-acetyl (NA), creatine (Cr) and choline (Cho) resonance peaks.

Results: There were no differences between those controls at high and those at low-risk for HIV infection. Comparing the combined control groups with the asymptomatic seropositive patients there were statistically significant differences in NA/Cho, NA/Cr (both P < 0.05) and NA/(NA + Cho + Cr) (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: Abnormalities in cerebral biochemistry may be demonstrated by proton MRS during asymptomatic HIV-1 infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • HIV Seronegativity
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy
  • HIV Seropositivity / pathology*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Zidovudine / therapeutic use


  • Zidovudine