Progress in neurobiology 2016 4 12() pii 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2016.04.003
HIV infection often causes neurological symptoms including cognitive and motor dysfunction, which have been collectively termed HIV/neuroAIDS. Neuropsychological assessment and clinical symptoms have been the primary diagnostic criteria for HIV/neuroAIDS, even for the mild cognitive and motor disorder, the most prevalent form of HIV/neuroAIDS in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy. Those performance-based assessments and symptoms are generally descriptive and do not have the sensitivity and specificity to monitor the diagnosis, progression, and treatment response of the disease when compared to objective and quantitative laboratory-based biological markers, or biomarkers. In addition, effects of demographics and comorbidities such as substance abuse, psychiatric disease, nutritional deficiencies, and co-infection on HIV/neuroAIDS could be more readily determined using biomarkers than using neuropsychological assessment and clinical symptoms. Thus, there have been great efforts in identification of HIV/neuroAIDS biomarkers over the past two decades. The need for reliable biomarkers of HIV/neuroAIDS is expected to increase as the HIV-infected population ages and their vulnerability to neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease increases. Currently, three classes of HIV/neuroAIDS biomarkers are being pursued to establish objective laboratory-based definitions of HIV-associated neurologic injury: cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, blood biomarkers, and neuroimaging biomarkers. In this review, we will focus on the current knowledge in the field of HIV/neuroAIDS biomarker discovery.