Despite widespread use of antiretroviral therapies to control replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), dysfunctions of cognition that are collectively termed HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) still occur in approximately 50% of those infected by the virus. Currently there is not a biomarker that can identify HIV-infected people who are at risk for the development of HAND. Previous studies have identified particular sphingolipid species that are dysregulated in HAND, but the neurocognitive correlates of these biochemical findings are not currently understood. To address this question, we compared cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of sphingomyelin, ceramide, and sterol species with performance on standard neurological tests designed to assess the function of multiple cognitive and motor domains in HIV-infected subjects. We found that sphingomyelin:ceramide ratios for acyl chain lengths of C16:0, C18:0, C22:0, and C24:0 were associated with worse performance on several indices of memory. The most striking finding was for the acyl chain of C18:0 that consistently associated with performance on multiple tests of memory. These findings suggest that the sphingomyelin:ceramide ratio for C18:0 may be a reasonable surrogate marker for memory dysfunction in HIV-infected subjects.
- mass spectrometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience