Relation between stage of disease and neurobehavioral measures in children with symptomatic HIV disease

P. Brouwers, G. Tudor-Williams, Charles DeCarli, H. A. Moss, P. L. Wolters, L. A. Civitello, P. A. Pizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objective: To study the relationships between stage of HIV disease, reflected by CD4+ lymphocyte percentages and p24 antigen levels, and HIV-associated central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities, measured by computed tomography (CT) brain-scan ratings and neurobehavioral tests. Design: Consecutive case series. Setting: Government medical research center. Patients: Eighty-six previously untreated children with symptomatic HIV-1 disease. Results: CD4% measures correlated significantly with overall CT brain-scan severity ratings (r = -0.45; P < 0.001) as well as with its component parts (cortical atrophy, white matter abnormalities, and intracerebral calcifications); they were of comparable magnitude for vertically and transfusion-infected children. CD4% measures were also associated with the general level of cognitive function (r = 0.32; P < 0.005). Furthermore, patients with detectable serum p24 antigen levels (n = 39) had CT brain scans that were more abnormal than patients with undetectable p24 levels (n = 20; CT abnormality ratings of 21.3 versus 35.9; P < 0.02); similar differences were found for the cortical atrophy and calcification ratings. p24 levels also correlated with the overall CT brain-scan severity rating (r = 0.34; P < 0.01). Conclusions: Degree of CT brain-scan abnormality and level of cognitive dysfunction were significantly associated with the stage of HIV-1 disease, as reflected by either CD4 leukocyte measures or elevations of p24 antigen. The relation between the CT brain-scan lesions and markers of HIV disease (both CD4 and p24) suggest that these CNS abnormalities are most likely associated with HIV-1 infection, and further support the hypothesis that the interaction between systemic disease progression and CNS manifestations is continuous rather than discrete.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-720
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • CD4+ lymphocytes
  • Central nervous system disease
  • Computed tomography brain scan
  • HIV encephalopathy
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • p24 antigen
  • Pediatric AIDS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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