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Altered Brain Function in Young HIV Patients with Syphilis Infection: A Voxel-Wise Degree Centrality Analysis

Authors Zhang XD, Liu GX, Wang XY, Huang XJ, Li JL, Li RL, Li HJ

Received 16 October 2019

Accepted for publication 25 February 2020

Published 11 March 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 823—833


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Suresh Antony

Xiao-Dong Zhang,1,2 Guang-Xue Liu,3 Xiao-Yue Wang,2 Xiao-Jie Huang,4 Jing-Li Li,1 Rui-Li Li,2 Hong-Jun Li2

1Department of Radiology, Tianjin First Central Hospital, Tianjin 300192, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Radiology, Beijing Youan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Natural Medicines, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, People’s Republic of China; 4Center for Infectious Diseases, Beijing Youan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Rui-Li Li; Hong-Jun Li
Department of Radiology, Beijing Youan Hospital, Capital Medical University, No. 8, Xi Tou Tiao, Youanmen Wai, Fengtai District, Beijing 100069, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 010 83997337
Fax +86 010 63051182

Objective: This study assessed the possible effect of syphilis co-infection in the brain function in young HIV patients by using voxel-wise degree centrality (DC) analysis.
Methods: Forty-four syphilis-co-infected HIV patients (HIV+/syphilis+), 45 HIV patients without syphilis history (HIV+/syphilis-) and 43 matched healthy controls (HC) underwent resting-state fMRI examinations. Laboratory tests and a battery of neuropsychological tests were performed before each MRI examination. One-way ANOVA was used to compare the differences of DC among the three groups. The correlations between MRI metrics and laboratory/neuropsychological tests in each patient’s group were performed by Pearson correlation analysis.
Results: Compared with HIV+/syphilis-, worse performance in complex motor skills was found in HIV+/syphilis+. Compared with HC, HIV+/syphilis+ and HIV+/syphilis- groups showed attenuated DC in the right orbital frontal cortex and increased DC in the left parietal/temporal cortex. Besides, we also found increased DC in the left inferior frontal cortex and bilateral posterior cingulated cortex/precuneus in HIV+/syphilis+ compared with HC. Moreover, compared with HIV+/syphilis-, HIV+/syphilis+ displayed decreased DC in the left middle occipital cortex. Additionally, in HIV+/syphilis+ group, the mean z value of DC was correlated to the CD4+ cell counts and the learning and delayed recall score.
Conclusion: Syphilis co-infection might be related to more brain functional reorganization in young HIV patients which could be reflected by DC value.

Keywords: syphilis, HIV, functional connectivity, fMRI, brain

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