This application is responsive to: PA-07-089 HIV Infection of the Central Nervous System and partially responsive to: PA-07-338 HIV Treatment Adherence Research. Co-infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a burgeoning healthcare concern, as approximately one third of all HIV-infected patients in the United States are co-infected with HCV. Infection with HIV and HCV can give rise to a host of cognitive, psychiatric and central nervous system abnormalities. Increasingly, there is reason to believe that HCV, even in the absence of HIV or other cormorbid conditions, is itself neuropathogenic. The main treatment for HCV is pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin (PEG-IFN/RBV). Treatment success is linked to whether patients can tolerate prescribed dosages and duration of therapy. Research has yet to focus on whether patients may miss or skip doses, an analogous situation to what has been well studied in HIV mono-infection. Given the relatively low rates of sustaining HCV remission (approximately 40-50%) and given the difficulty of taking a potent combination of medications for a sustained period of time (most will be on treatment for 48 weeks), it is reasonable to assume that suboptimal adherence might share some responsibility for treatment failure. This five year longitudinal study seeks to determine: (1) The impact of treatment with PEG- IFN/RBV on neurocognitive, neuropsychiatric, and neuroimaging parameters and the degree to which comorbid HIV infection alters this response;(2) whether participants who achieve a SVR demonstrate statistically and clinically significant improvements in neuro-function compared to baseline performance and (3) the degree to which adherence to participants'anti-HCV medication regimen impacts neural function as well as the likelihood of obtaining a sustained virologic response. We are particularly interested in determining how (or if) co-morbid HIV infection alters the expression of treatment related neuro-changes. We will enroll 330 participants, 165 who are HIV/HCV co-infected and 165 who are HCV mono-infected in order to obtain an ultimate sample of 200 participants who complete therapy. Study participants will be evaluated with a series of neuropsychological and psychiatric measures prior to beginning treatment, 12 weeks after treatment has been initiated, and then 12 weeks following treatment completion. A nested cohort will undergo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) at each study timepoint. We will employ growth modeling and multiple group path analysis as the primary analytic techniques. Project Narrative: Co-infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is increasingly recognized as a pressing public health concern as the number of deaths due to HCV will soon outpace deaths due to HIV in the United States. While there are medications for HCV that are frequently effective, these drugs are also toxic and may adversely affect brain function and cause problems with medication adherence. This study will determine how co-infection with both HIV and HCV affects the brain, how treatment for HCV affects brain function, and how adherence to HCV medications affects response to treatment and neurological functions. Of particular interest is how HIV co-infection affects response to treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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NeuroAIDS and other End-Organ Diseases Study Section (NAED)
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Stoff, David M
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Brentwood Biomedical Research Institute
Los Angeles
United States
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