A Longitudinal Analysis of Cerebral Blood Flow in Perinatally HIV Infected Adolescents as Compared to Matched Healthy Controls

Jason G van Genderen, Malon Van den Hof, Anne Marleen Ter Haar, Charlotte Blokhuis, Vera C Keil, Dasja Pajkrt, Henk J M M Mutsaerts

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Despite effective combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART), perinatally HIV infected (PHIV) adolescents still experience cognitive complications. We previously reported higher cerebral blood flow (CBF) in basal ganglia and white matter (WM) in PHIV children compared to matched controls. In healthy children CBF is associated with cognitive domains. To determine longitudinal changes in CBF and its impact on cognitive complications, we measured CBF-using arterial spin labeling-in 21 PHIV adolescents and 23 controls matched for age, sex and socio-economic status twice with a mean follow-up of 4.6 years. We explored associations between CBF changes and WM micro- and macrostructural markers and cognitive domains using linear mixed models. The median age at follow-up was comparable between PHIV adolescents 17.4y (IQR:15.3-20.7) and controls 16.2y (IQR:15.6-19.1). At baseline, PHIV had higher CBF in the caudate nucleus and putamen. CBF development was comparable in gray matter (GM), WM and subcortical regions in both groups. In our cohort, we found that over time an increase of GM CBF was associated with an increase of visual motor function (p = 0.043) and executive function (p = 0.045). Increase of CBF in the caudate nucleus, putamen and thalamus was associated with an increase processing speed (p = 0.033; 0.036; 0.003 respectively) and visual motor function (p = 0.023; 0.045; 0.003 respectively). CBF development is relatively normal in PHIV adolescents on cART. CBF decline is associated with cognitive impairment, irrespective of HIV status.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2179
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Cognitive function
  • HIV

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