Aging and Apolipoprotein E in HIV Infection

Rebeca Geffin, Micheline McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


With the implementation of increasingly effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) over the past three decades, individuals infected with HIV live a much longer life. HIV infection is no longer a terminal but rather a chronic disease. However, the lifespan of infected individuals remains shorter than that of their uninfected peers. Even with ART, HIV infection may potentiate “premature” aging. Organ-associated disease and systemic syndromes that occur in treated HIV-infection are like that of older, uninfected individuals. Brain aging may manifest as structural changes or neurocognitive impairment that are beyond the chronological age. The spectrum of neurological, cognitive, and motor deficiencies, currently described as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), may reflect earlier onset of mechanisms common to HIV infection and aging (accelerated aging). HAND could also reflect the neurological impact of HIV infection superimposed on comorbidities linked to age and chronic inflammation, leading to a higher prevalence of neurocognitive impairment across the age span (accentuated aging). In addition, apolipoprotein E (ApoE), one of the most influential host risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease, has been implicated in the development of HAND. But studies differ as to whether ApoE is relevant, and whether age and ApoE interact to impair brain function in the HIV-infected patient. What is clear is that HIV-infected individuals are living longer with HIV, and therefore factors related to aging and health need to be examined in the context of current, effective ART. This review addresses the recent evidence for the influence of aging and ApoE on HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-548
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Aging
  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Neurocognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology


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