Diffuse white matter pallor is the most frequent neuropathological feature of HIV-1 infection and has been found to be particularly prominent in the advanced stages of the disease. The purpose of this study was to determine whether subtle white matter abnormalities can be detected in medically stable, ambulatory HIV-1 patients, in vivo, using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). DTI is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that is uniquely suited for the study of subtle white matter abnormalities. DTI was performed in six HIV-1 patients and nine controls. The two groups were similar in age. Abnormal fractional anisotropy was found in the white matter of the frontal lobes and internal capsules of the HIV-1 patients, in the absence of group differences in mean diffusivity, computed proton density, and computed T2. DTI may be more sensitive than conventional MRI methods for detecting subtle white matter disruptions in HIV-1 disease.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work has supported in part by the National Institutes of Health CMH 56994, MH 53313.
- Diffusion tensor imaging
- Frontal lobe
- Internal capsule
- Magnetic resonance imaging