Chronic inflammation mediates brain injury in HIV infection: relevance for cure strategies

Justin C. McArthur, Tory P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewChronic inflammation is a major component of HIV infection, the effects of which can be devastating in the central nervous system (CNS). Protecting the brain is, therefore, critical as efforts proceed to cure HIV infection by reactivating latent viral reservoirs and driving immune responses. We review the clinical presentation and pathology findings of inflammatory processes in the CNS in patients managed with ART and the drivers of these processes.Recent findingsChronic inflammation is associated with increased mortality and morbidity and HIV infection increases the risk for chronic diseases, especially cognitive impairment. Latent viral reservoirs, including microglia and tissue macrophages, contribute to inflammation in the CNS. Inflammation is generated and maintained through residual viral replication, dysregulation of infected cells, continuously produced viral proteins and positive feedback loops of chronic inflammation. Novel therapeutics and lifestyle changes may help to protect the CNS from immune-mediated damage.SummaryAs therapies are developed to cure HIV, it is important to protect the CNS from additional immune-mediated damage. Adjunctive therapies to restore glial function, reduce neuroinflammation and systemic inflammation, and inhibit expression of viral proteins are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-404
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • HIV
  • HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders
  • chronic inflammation
  • cure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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