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

Nicoletta Ciccarelli, Simona Di Giambenedetto, Andrea De Luca, Massimiliano Fabbiani, Valeria Castelli, Alessandro Soria, Elisa Colella, Manuela Valsecchi, Andrea Gori, Alessandra Bandera

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3 Citations (Scopus)


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
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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


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