Central nervous system opportunistic infections in developed countries in the highly active antiretroviral therapy era.

A marked decrease in incidence has been observed for most central nervous system (CNS) opportunistic infections (OIs) after the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in developed countries. However, the spectrum of these OIs in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients has remained almost unchanged. CNS toxoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, tuberculosis, and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) remain the most frequent ones. Primary CNS lymphoma should be included in the differential diagnosis of all cases with focal lesions. Final diagnosis is currently made by combining neuroimaging techniques (single-photon emission computed tomography [SPECT], positron emission tomography [PET], magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and/or computed tomography [CT] scan) and molecular studies of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and therapeutical response. Stereotactic biopsy should only be performed in the case of atypical lesions or nonresponse to recommended treatments. After treatment of the acute phase, lifelong maintenance therapy is necessary to prevent OI recurrences. Once HAART is initiated, some patients can develop a clinical worsening of some CNS OIs with or without atypical neuroimaging manifestations. This paradoxical worsening is known as the immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) and it results from reconstitution of the immune system's ability to recognize pathogens/antigens in patients with prior OIs and low CD4+ T-cell counts. In this context, IRIS can be seen in patients with CNS cryptococcosis, tuberculosis, or PML. On the other hand, HAART-induced immune reconstitution can improve the prognosis of some untreatable diseases such as PML, and can allow maintenance therapy of some CNS OI to be safely discontinued in patients with high and sustained CD4+ T-cell response.
AuthorsChristian Manzardo, María Del Mar Ortega, Omar Sued, Felipe García, Asunción Moreno, José M Miró
JournalJournal of neurovirology (J Neurovirol) Vol. 11 Suppl 3 Pg. 72-82 ( 2005) ISSN: 1355-0284 [Print] United States
PMID16540459 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections (diagnosis, epidemiology, etiology)
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Central Nervous System Infections (diagnosis, epidemiology, etiology, microbiology)
  • Developed Countries
  • HIV Infections (complications, drug therapy)
  • Humans

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