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Progressive slowing of reaction time and increasing cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of quinolinic acid in HIV-infected individuals
The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 1992;4:270-279.
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Neuropsychological functioning and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of an endogenous neurotoxin, quinolinic acid (QUIN) were evaluated in 52 HIV-positive individuals (71% without constitutional symptoms) and 33 HIV-seronegative controls (including 15 psychiatric patients with adjustment disorders). Although the HIV-positive subjects did not differ from controls on standard neuropsychological tests, simple and choice reactions times (RT) were slow at initial evaluation (P less than 0.01) and became progressively slower at 6-month re-evaluation (P less than 0.05). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) QUIN was elevated at initial evaluation and increased during the 6-month interval (P less than 0.05). Moreover, during this 6-month interval, progressive slowing of RT was highly correlated with increasing levels of CSF QUIN (r = 0.85, df = 15, P less than 0.0001) but not with changes in mood, constitutional symptoms, or CD4 cell count. These findings suggest that RT may provide a sensitive behavioral measure of relatively early central nervous system involvement in HIV-infected individuals and that QUIN may play an important role in the pathogenesis of HIV-related neurological dysfunction.

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