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HIV-1 Infection, Neuroendocrine Abnormalities, and Clinical Outcomes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2014


Different lines of evidence suggest that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is complicated by a variety of adverse effects on neuroendocrine systems. Soon after the discovery of HIV-1, reports began to appear suggesting that a number of neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine activities were negatively impacted by this infection. In 1987 it was observed that fine-needle aspiration of the lung in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome resulted in syncopal reactions. Subsequently, an abnormality in the autonomic nervous system was reported in these patients. However, investigations in this area have remained limited due to the assumption that HIV-1–mediated activation of various endocrine systems was related to the major life stressor of living with a fatal disease. Evidence accumulated over the years has indicated, instead, that there are various other mechanisms in addition to life stressors that also play an important role in negatively impacting the neuroendocrine systems in this infection. This article examines various developments that have taken place in this area in order to provide avenues for future research.

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