Author(s): Probasco JC, Spudich SS, Critchfield J, Lee E, Lollo N,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: HIV-1 infection of the CSF space is nearly universal in untreated systemic infection, and correlates strongly with intrathecal and systemic immunoactivation and CSF pleocytosis. Based on the potential immunomodulatory and antiviral properties of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), we examined the effect of atorvastatin on CSF HIV-1 infection and associated CSF abnormalities in a small pilot study. METHODS: Seven male HIV-1-infected, antiretroviral-naïve subjects with a mean blood CD4+ T cell count of 473 cells/muL were studied in an open-label, single-arm pilot study to assess the effects of 80 mg atorvastatin daily for 8 weeks. The primary endpoint was the change in CSF HIV-1 RNA levels, both absolutely and relative to plasma HIV-1 RNA, at 4 and 8 weeks of treatment. Other outcome measures included CSF white blood cell counts and neopterin concentrations as indices of intrathecal immunoactivation, and blood HIV-1 RNA levels, neopterin concentrations, and T lymphocyte counts. Effects on blood lipids were used to monitor the established biologic effects of atorvastatin and treatment adherence. RESULTS: No significant changes in CSF virologic and inflammatory indices or in systemic HIV-1 infection were observed during atorvastatin treatment despite potent reduction of blood lipids. CONCLUSION: Atorvastatin showed no appreciable effect on CSF HIV-1 infection or intrathecal immunoactivation in this small uncontrolled study and thus appears to have little promise as an immunomodulatory adjuvant therapy for CNS HIV-1 infection, at least in neuroasymptomatic subjects with preserved CD4+ T cell counts.
This article was published in Neurology
and referenced in Virology & Mycology