eBioMedicine: Gut microbiota may promote susceptibility to HIV infection

Changes in the gut microbiome may be associated with HIV infection, but it is difficult to determine the relative effects of HIV and other factors on the body’s gut microbiome in cross-sectional studies.

Recently, a research report entitled “Gut dysbiosis and inflammatory blood markers precede HIV with limited changes after early seroconversion” was published in the international journal eBioMedicine, from UCLA and other institutions Scientists at , found that certain gut microbiota, including a type of bacteria that is important for a healthy gut microbiome, may differ between acquired HIV-infected and uninfected individuals.

Related findings suggest that the gut microbiome may put individuals at risk for HIV infection.

Researcher Professor Jennifer Fulcher said: “This is an important area of ​​research that may help to understand if and how these bacteria affect HIV transmission, and microbiome-based therapies may be emerging. It has gradually become a research area with great potential, and with further research, it may be expected to become a new method to help prevent HIV infection and transmission.”

There is a link between chronic HIV infection and changes in gut bacteria, so researchers want to gain a better understanding of when these changes begin after HIV infection.

To do this, they studied 27 gay men, collected and analyzed samples of their gut microbiome before and after HIV infection, and then compared the results to 28 men who had similar results. Results from studies of gut microbiome samples from behaviorally at-risk but HIV-uninfected men were compared. The results showed that the gut microbiota of the infected men remained virtually unchanged during the first year, but then they found that men who had acquired HIV had their bodies even before they were infected, compared to uninfected men. There are already differences in the gut microbiota.

Specifically, infected men had reduced gut levels of Bacteroides species compared to uninfected high-risk control individuals, while Increased levels of Megasphaera elsdenii, a bacterium ubiquitous in the lower gut that plays an important metabolic role in maintaining a healthy gut environment, and later Its function in the human gut is unknown.

The researchers also found that HIV-infected men had higher levels of inflammatory cytokines and bioactive lipids before infection than matched control individuals, Both of these substances are involved in the development of systemic inflammation in the body, suggesting that the body may have been fighting off these infections or injuries.

Limitations of this study include the relatively small sample size and focus only on gay men in relationships, the majority of whom use drugs, which may reduce its exposure to other populations universality. Taken together, our findings suggest that participants with acute HIV infection may exhibit differences in the pre-existing microbiome compared to matched control participants observed at the same time period. These data underscore that Increasing the importance of understanding the role of the microbiome in HIV susceptibility.

Original credit:

Jennifer A. Fulcher, Fan Li, Nicole H. Tobin, et al. Gut dysbiosis and inflammatory blood markers precede HIV with limited changes after early seroconversion, eBioMedicine (2022). DOI: 10.1016/ j.ebiom.2022.104286

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