Associations of cigarette smoking with viral immune and cognitive function in human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive women

Valerie Wojna, Lizbeth Robles, Richard L. Skolasky, Raul Mayo, Ola Selnes, Tania de la Torre, Elizabeth Maldonado, Avindra Nath, Loyda M. Meléndez, Jose Lasalde-Dominicci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Cigarette smoking alters the immune system and may improve cognitive deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders. Smoking prevalence is high in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients; however, its effect on HIV-associated cognitive impairment remains unknown in the era of antiretroviral treatment. The authors examined associations of smoking with viral immune profile and cognitive function in a cohort of HIV-seropositive women. This observational cross-sectional study included 56 women (36 HIV-seropositive and 20 HIV-seronegative) surveyed with a tobacco questionnaire: the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependency. Viral immune status was obtained 6 to 12 months before questioned. Neurocognitive testing (NP) assessed verbal memory, frontal/ executive function, psychomotor speed, and motor speed. A reference group of HIV-seronegative women was used to calculate standardized z-scores. Cognitive impairment was classified using a modified American Academy of Neurology criteria, adding an asymptomatic group based on NP tests. Statistics included parametric and nonparametric tests. HIV-seropositive women were more likely to report a history of smoking (P = 0.028). Among them, current smoking correlated with higher plasma viral load (P = 0.048), and history of smoking correlated with lower CD4 cell count (P = 0.027). The authors observed no associations between cognitive impairment and either current or past history of smoking and no differences in neurocognitive domain scores between HIV-seropositive and -seronegative women or between those with and without a history of smoking. However, restricting analysis to HIV-seropositives showed a significant better performance on the frontal/executive domain in those with history of smoking. In summary, history of smoking correlated with better frontal/executive cognitive domain performance in HIV-seropositive women and with worse viral immune profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-568
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Cigarette smoking
  • Cognitive impairment
  • HIV
  • Nicotine
  • Viral immune profile
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology


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