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HIV infection and the fronto–striatal system: a systematic review and meta-analysis of fMRI studies

Plessis, Stéfan Dua; Vink, Matthijsb; Joska, John A.e; Koutsilieri, Elenic; Stein, Dan J.d,e; Emsley, Robina

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000151
Editorial Review

Functional MRI studies investigating the impact of HIV on the brain have implicated the involvement of fronto–striatal circuitry. However, to date there is no review and meta-analysis of this work. We systematically reviewed the literature and performed a meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies in HIV-infected individuals using a well validated tool recently developed for use in fMRI, ‘GingerALE’. Twenty-one studies (468 HIV+, 270 HIV− controls) were qualitatively reviewed, of which six (105 HIV+, 102 controls) utilized fMRI paradigms engaging the fronto–striatal–parietal network, making a quantitative analysis possible. Our meta-analysis revealed consistent functional differences in the left inferior frontal gyrus and caudate nucleus between infected participants and controls across these studies. This fronto–striatal dysfunction was qualitatively related to cognitive impairment, disease progression and treatment effects. Although further work needs to be done to further delineate the potentially confounding influence of substance abuse and HIV-related comorbidities, as well as HIV's effect on functional haemodynamic vascular coupling, these findings indicate that further investigation of the fronto–striatal sub-networks in HIV-infected patients is warranted.

aDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa

bRudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

cInstitute for Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

dMedical Research Council (Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders)

eDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Correspondence to Stéfan du Plessis, Department of Psychiatry, 2nd Floor Clinical Building, Faculty of Heath Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Fransie van Zijl Rylaan, Tygerberg, Cape Town, 7505, South Africa. E-mail:

Received 23 July, 2013

Revised 11 November, 2013

Accepted 11 November, 2013

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.