Cerebrospinal fluid neopterin: An informative biomarker of central nervous system immune activation in HIV-1 infection

Lars Hagberg, Paola Cinque, Magnus Gisslen, Bruce J. Brew, Serena Spudich, Arabella Bestetti, Richard W. Price, Dietmar Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HIV-1 invades the central nervous system (CNS) in the context of acute infection, persists thereafter in the absence of treatment, and leads to chronic intrathecal immunoactivation that can be measured by the macrophage activation marker, neopterin, in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In this review we describe our experience with CSF neopterin measurements in 382 untreated HIV-infected patients across the spectrum of immunosuppression and HIV-related neurological diseases, in 73 untreated AIDS patients with opportunistic CNS infections, and in 233 treated patients. In untreated patients, CSF neopterin concentrations are almost always elevated and increase progressively as immunosuppression worsens and blood CD4 cell counts fall. However, patients with HIV dementia exhibit particularly high CSF neopterin concentrations, above those of patients without neurological disease, though patients with CNS opportunistic infections, including CMV encephalitis and cryptococcal meningitis, also exhibit high levels of CSF neopterin. Combination antiretroviral therapy, with its potent effect on CNS HIV infection and CSF HIV RNA, mitigates both intrathecal immunoactivation and lowers CSF neopterin. However, despite suppression of plasma and CSF HIV RNA to below the detection limits of clinical assays (

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalAIDS Research and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - Jun 3 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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