Bioenergetic adaptations to HIV infection. Could modulation of energy substrate utilization improve brain health in people living with HIV-1?

Pragney Deme, Camilo Rojas, Barbara S. Slusher, Raina Rais, Zahra Afghah, Jonathan D. Geiger, Norman J. Haughey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The human brain consumes more energy than any other organ in the body and it relies on an uninterrupted supply of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to maintain normal cognitive function. This constant supply of energy is made available through an interdependent system of metabolic pathways in neurons, glia and endothelial cells that each have specialized roles in the delivery and metabolism of multiple energetic substrates. Perturbations in brain energy metabolism is associated with a number of different neurodegenerative conditions including impairments in cognition associated with infection by the Human Immunodeficiency Type 1 Virus (HIV-1). Adaptive changes in brain energy metabolism are apparent early following infection, do not fully normalize with the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and often worsen with length of infection and duration of anti-retroviral therapeutic use. There is now a considerable amount of cumulative evidence that suggests mild forms of cognitive impairments in people living with HIV-1 (PLWH) may be reversible and are associated with specific modifications in brain energy metabolism. In this review we discuss brain energy metabolism with an emphasis on adaptations that occur in response to HIV-1 infection. The potential for interventions that target brain energy metabolism to preserve or restore cognition in PLWH are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113181
JournalExperimental Neurology
StatePublished - May 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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