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Anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus Antibodies in the Cerebrospinal Fluid: Evidence of Early Treatment Impact on Central Nervous System Reservoir?


Background:Despite effective antiretroviral therapy (ART), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) likely persists in the central nervous system (CNS) in treated individuals. We examined anti-HIV antibodies in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood as markers of persistence. Methods:Human immunodeficiency virus antibodies were measured in paired CSF and serum before and after long-term treatment of chronic (n = 10) and early infection (n = 12), along with untreated early infection (n = 10). Results:Treatment of chronic infection resulted in small reductions of anti-HIV antibodies in CSF and serum despite >10 years of suppressive ART. In untreated early infection, anti-HIV antibodies emerged in blood by day 30, whereas CSF antibodies reached similar levels 2 weeks later. Compared with long-term treatment of chronic infection, early ART initiation reduced CSF antibodies by 43-fold (P > .0001) and blood antibodies by 7-fold (P = .0003). Two individuals receiving pre-exposure prophylaxis and then ART early after infection failed to develop antibodies in CSF or blood, whereas CSF antibodies were markedly reduced in the Berlin patient. Conclusions:To the extent that differential CSF and blood antibodies indicate HIV persistence, these data suggest a relative delay in establishment of the CNS compared with the systemic HIV reservoir that provides an opportunity for early treatment to have a greater impact on the magnitude of long-term CNS infection.

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