So they conducted a retrospective cohort study to evaluate the effects of HAART on the brain-injury marker in 53 HIV-positive patients with and without AIDS dementia complex, using archived cerebrospinal fluid samples from lumbar punctures done before and after the initiation of the drug regimen.
The researchers measured neurofilament light protein levels using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with a reference value for normal of less than 250 ng/L.
They found that 21 patients had increased levels of the marker at baseline, with a median of 780 ng/L, intraquartile range 480 to 7300 ng/L. Eighteen of these patients had an AIDS-defining condition: nine had AIDS dementia complex, five had pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia, one had candida esophagitis, two were infected with mycobacterium avium complex, and one had the wasting syndrome.
At baseline, the patients with AIDS dementia complex also had significantly
higher neurofilament light protein concentrations than the neurologically normal patients, with a median level of 8,000 ng/L (interquartile range 1690 to 9700 ng/L) compared with 518 ng/L (interquartile range 451 to 780, P<0.01).