HIV-Related Neuropathy: Pathophysiology, Treatment and Challenges

Noushin Jazebi, Chad Evans, Hima S. Kadaru, Divya Kompella, Felix Fang, Mukaila Raji, Miguel Pappolla, Shao-Jun Tang, Jin Mo Chung, Bruce Hammock and Xiang Fang



HIV-sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) is a debilitating complication in HIV patients with or without anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Common symptoms of HIV-SN include pain, decreased sensation, paresthesias and dysesthesias in a symmetric stocking-glove distribution. While HIV-1 protein such as gp120 is implicated in HIV-SN (e.g. impaired large-diameter fiber), ART itself was recently shown to contribute to HIV-SN in HIV patients and impair thin fiber. Multiple host mechanisms may play roles during the pathogenesis of HIV-SN, including neuron-glia interactions in the spinal dorsal horn (SDH), inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and endoplasmic reticulum stress. Concurrent infections, such as tuberculosis, also carry a higher likelihood of HIV-SN as well as environmental or genetic predisposition. Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL2 receptor-alpha and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) along with abnormal lactate levels have been identified as potential players within the complex pathophysiology of this condition. In this paper, we review the pathophysiology of HIV neuropathy, focusing on the various treatment options available or under investigation. Although several treatment options are available e.g., the capsaicin patch and spinal cord stimulation, symptomatic control of HIV-SN are often challenging. Alternative approaches such as self-hypnosis, resistance exercise, cannabinoids, and acupuncture have all shown promising results, but need further investigation.

Published on: February 6, 2021
doi: 10.17756/jnen.2021-082
Citation: Jazebi N, Evans C, Kadaru HS, Kompella D, Fang F, et al. 2021. Meliodosis Presenting as Rhombencephalitis with Antiganglioside Antibody Positivity. J Neurol Exp Neurosci 7(1): 15-24.