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The purpose of this study was to determine if postmortem intracranial arteries from donors with HIV without stroke have thinner media layers compared with patients without HIV and without stroke. Cross-sectional cuts from intracranial arteries were stained with van Gieson and hematoxylin and eosin. Arteries were examined for thickness of each arterial layer. Univariable and multivariable models were used for statistical analyses with probability values <0.05 considered significant. A total of 18 brains were analyzed, 5 with HIV and 13 without. Fifty-five arteries were collected, 15 from HIV brains and 40 from unaffected controls. In univariable analysis, in arteries from HIV-infected brains, the media to wall thickness ratio was smaller than in donors without HIV (0.496 versus 0.563, P=0.017). In multivariable analysis, HIV infection was the only independent predictor of smaller media ratios compared with the same-aged control subjects (P=0.049) but not with aged control subjects (P=0.081). In patients with HIV without clinical stroke, the media arterial layer is thinner than in patients without HIV. This suggests that a thinner media layer might be a preclinical stage in the development of HIV-related vasculopathy.


Jose Gutierrez, Melanie Glenn, Richard S Isaacson, Angelica Dawn Marr, Deborah Mash, Carol Petito. Thinning of the arterial media layer as a possible preclinical stage in HIV vasculopathy: a pilot study. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation. 2012 Apr;43(4):1156-8

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PMID: 22198982

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