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Author Notes:

Corresponding Author: Albert M. Anderson, MD, MHS, Emory University School of Medicine, 341 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30308, Phone: 404-616-3147, Fax: 404-616-9702, aande2@emory.edu

No financial disclosures to report

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

This work was presented in part as: CSF Interferon Alpha Levels Inversely Correlate with Processing in HIV-infected Subjects with Cognitive Complaints. Poster Abstract 437, 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), Atlanta, Georgia, 2013.


Research Funding:

Emory Medical Care Foundation

NIH K23MH095679

NIH P30 AI050409 (Emory Center for AIDS Research)

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

The Torsten Söderberg Foundation

The Swedish Research Council

The European Research Council


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Neurosciences
  • Virology
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • HIV
  • Aids
  • Memory disorders
  • Interferon alpha
  • ERA

Cerebrospinal fluid interferon alpha levels correlate with neurocognitive impairment in ambulatory HIV-Infected individuals


Journal Title:

Journal of NeuroVirology


Volume 23, Number 1


, Pages 106-112

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDs) continue to be common and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. However, the underlying mechanisms in the combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) era are not fully understood. Interferon alpha (IFNα) is an antiviral cytokine found to be elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of individuals with advanced HIV-associated dementia in the pre-cART era. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated the association between IFNα and neurocognitive performance in ambulatory HIV-infected individuals with milder impairment. An eight-test neuropsychological battery representing six cognitive domains was administered. Individual scores were adjusted for demographic characteristics, and a composite neuropsychological score (NPT-8) was calculated. IFNα and CSF neurofilament light chain (NFL) levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). There were 15 chronically infected participants with a history of significant immunocompromise (median nadir CD4+ of 49 cells/μl). Most participants were neurocognitively impaired (mean global deficit score of 0.86). CSF IFNα negatively correlated with three individual tests (Trailmaking A, Trailmaking B, and Stroop Color-Word) as well as the composite NPT-8 score (r = −0.67, p = 0.006). These negative correlations persisted in multivariable analyses adjusting for chronic hepatitis B and C. Additionally, CSF IFNα correlated strongly with CSF NFL, a marker of neuronal damage (rho = 0.748, p = 0.0013). These results extend findings from individuals with severe HIV-associated dementia in the pre-cART era and suggest that IFNα may continue to play a role in HAND pathogenesis during the cART era. Further investigation into the role of IFNα is indicated.

Copyright information:

© 2016, Journal of NeuroVirology, Inc.

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