Neuropathological sequelae of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and apathy: A review of neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies

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23 Scopus citations


Apathy remains a common neuropsychiatric disturbance in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) despite advances in anti-retroviral treatment (ART). The goal of the current review is to recapitulate findings relating apathy to the deleterious biobehavioral effects of HIV-1 in the post-ART era. Available literatures demonstrate that the emergence of apathy with other neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms may be attributed to neurotoxic effects of viral proliferation, e.g., aggregative effect of Tat and gp120 on apoptosis, transport and other enzymatic reactions amongst dopaminergic neurons and neuroglia. An assortment of neuroimaging modalities converge on the severity of apathy symptoms associated with the propensity of the virus to replicate within frontal-striatal brain circuits that facilitate emotional processing. Burgeoning research into functional brain connectivity also supports the effects of microvascular and neuro-inflammatory injury linked to aging with HIV-1 on the presentation of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Summarizing these findings, we review domains of HIV-associated neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric impairment linked to apathy in HIV. Taken together, these lines of research suggest that loss of affective, cognitive and behavioral inertia is commensurate with the neuropathology of HIV-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-164
Number of pages18
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Apathy
  • DTI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • MRI
  • Neurocognitive impairment
  • Neuropsychiatric dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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