July 26, 2013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070201
Data on suppression of HIV replication in the CNS and on the subsequent risk of neurocognitive impairment using monotherapy with boosted protease inhibitors are limited.
Ours was an exploratory cross-sectional study in patients on lopinavir/ritonavir-based monotherapy (LPV/r-MT) or standard triple therapy (LPV/r-ART) for at least 96 weeks who maintained a plasma viral load ,50 copies/mL. HIV-1 RNA in CSF was determined by HIV-1 SuperLow assay (lower limit of detection, 1 copy/mL). Neurocognitive functioning was assessed using a recommended battery of neuropsychological tests covering 7 areas. Neurocognitive impairment (NCI) was determined and also a global deficit score (GDS) for study comparisons.
Seventeen patients on LPV/r-MT and 17 on LPV/r-ART were included. Fourteen (82.4%) patients on LPV/r-MT and 16 (94.1%) on LPV/r-ART had HIV-1 RNA ,1 copy/mL in CSF (p = 0.601). NCI was observed in 7 patients on LPV/r-MT and in 10 on LPV/r-ART (41% vs 59%; p = 0.494). Mean (SD) GDS was 0.22 (0.20) in patients on LPV/r-MT and 0.47 (0.34) in those on LPV/r-ART (p = 0.012).
Suppression of HIV in CSF is similar in individuals with durable plasma HIV-1 RNA suppression who are receiving LPV/r-MT or LPV/r-ART for at least 96 weeks. Findings for HIV-1 replication in CSF and neurocognitive status indicate that this strategy seems to be safe for CNS functioning.