The prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) has increased owing to the widespread use of combined antiretroviral treatment (CART) and resulting longer survival of HIV-infected patients. Among HIV-seropositive patients on CART, most suffer from the milder forms of HAND. Despite the increased prevalence of HAND, we lack good biomarkers for the disease (Price, 2010). Recently, blood sugar metabolism abnormalities have been identified in HIV-infected individuals and associated with HAND. In addition, retrospective data from our own cohort of HIV-seropositive women on CART show that high plasma soluble insulin receptor (sIR) full-length levels are associated with the presence and severity of HAND. Our long-term goal is to identify a biomarker for HAND. The rationale for the current study lies with previous observations by our lab and others that blood sugar metabolism abnormalities are associated with HAND. Our central hypothesis is that these abnormalities contribute to the development and progression of HAND. The objective of the present study is to determine if changes in plasma sIR full-length levels are associated with milder forms of HAND in a cohort of HIV-seropositive women using CART. We propose 3 aims: 1. To determine if sIR ectodomain (1) and full-length (12) subunits are increased in HIV-infection in a cohort of HIV- seropositive women using CART, 2. To determine if high plasma sIR full-length levels are associated with HAND, and 3. To determine if alternative splicing of the insulin receptor mRNA transcript correlates with plasma sIR full-length levels in HIV-seropositive women with HAND. We expect to find an association between plasma sIR full-length and HAND, and increased sIR full-length to be associated with increased alternative splicing of IR mRNA. This study is novel in testing the possibility that plasma sIR full-length could serve as a blood biomarker for presence and severity of HAND. It is significant since sIR full-length could assist in early diagnosis and monitoring treatment responses, as well as in understanding the pathogenic processes of HAND.

Public Health Relevance

We found that plasma soluble insulin receptor levels are associated with the presence and severity of HIV- associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in HIV-seropositive women on combined antiretroviral treatment (CART). We propose to further evaluate this association and explore its underlying mechanisms. If our findings are positive, we will have identified a blood biomarker for the early diagnosis and treatment of HAND in HIV- seropositive women on CART.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
NeuroAIDS and other End-Organ Diseases Study Section (NAED)
Program Officer
Joseph, Jeymohan
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Puerto Rico Med Sciences
Schools of Medicine
San Juan
United States
Zip Code
Gerena, Yamil; Menéndez-Delmestre, Raissa; Skolasky, Richard L et al. (2015) Soluble insulin receptor as a source of insulin resistance and cognitive impairment in HIV-seropositive women. J Neurovirol 21:113-9
Agsalda-Garcia, Melissa; Shiramizu, Bruce; Melendez, Loyda et al. (2013) Different levels of HIV DNA copy numbers in cerebrospinal fluid cellular subsets. J Health Care Poor Underserved 24:8-16
Gerena, Yamil; Skolasky, Richard L; Velez, Joyce M et al. (2012) Soluble and cell-associated insulin receptor dysfunction correlates with severity of HAND in HIV-infected women. PLoS One 7:e37358