Hepatitis C virus-related factors associated WITH cognitive performance in HIV-HCV-coinfected patients

Massimiliano Fabbiani, Nicoletta Ciccarelli, Valeria Castelli, Alessandro Soria, Alberto Borghetti, Elisa Colella, Davide Moschese, Manuela Valsecchi, Arianna Emiliozzi, Andrea Gori, Andrea De Luca, Alessandra Bandera, Simona Di Giambenedetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The contribution of HCV-related variables to cognitive impairment in HIV-HCV-coinfected patients has been poorly investigated. We selected HIV-HCV-coinfected patients undergoing cognitive examination (exploring memory, language, speed of mental processing and fine motor function) at three clinical centres. Cognitive performance was evaluated using Z-transformed scores. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate variables associated to cognitive impairment (defined as a composite Z-score ≤ - 1). Overall, 146 HIV-HCV-coinfected patients were enrolled. Median HCV-RNA was 6.2logU/mL. HCV genotype 1a/b was the most represented (53.4%). Liver fibrosis was mild (Fib4 ≤ 1.45) in the majority of patients (44.5%). Global cognitive impairment was diagnosed in 35 (24%) subjects. Exploring each domain, a higher proportion of impairment was observed for memory (37%) followed by speed of mental processing (32.2%), fine motor functioning (24%) and language (18.5%). Among HCV-related variables, the duration of HCV infection was independently associated with global cognitive impairment (aOR 1.13 per +1 year, p = 0.016) and abnormal speed of mental processing (aOR 1.16 per +1 year, p = 0.001), while higher HCV-RNA was independently associated to fine motor functioning impairment (aOR 1.98 per +1log, p = 0.037). HCV genotype, fibrosis stage, transaminases or bilirubin levels were not related to cognitive performance. Of note, integrase inhibitor (InSTI) use was independently associated to a pathological performance in fine motor functioning (aOR 3.34, p = 0.035) and memory (aOR 3.70, p = 0.014). In conclusion, the duration of HCV infection and HCV-RNA load showed an association with cognitive impairment, suggesting a role of hepatitis-related factors in the development of cognitive disorders in HIV-HCV-coinfected patients. The association between InSTI use and altered cognitive performance should prompt investigations about potential neurotoxicity of these drugs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-873
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of NeuroVirology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • AIDS
  • Cognitive impairment
  • HCV
  • HIV
  • Liver fibrosis


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