Bad Bugs Abet HIV
MedPageToday, July 12, 2013.
Increasingly, the ill effects of HIV infection -- even when controlled by highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) -- are being linked to chronic inflammation. Now researchers led by Joseph McCune, MD, PhD, of the University of California San Francisco, think they understand at least part of the reason.
They analyzed the gut microbiome -- all the bacteria that live in the intestinal tract -- of 34 people, including seven with untreated HIV, 18 with HIV controlled by HAART, and nine without HIV but matched for other health risks. The HIV patients, according to a report online in Science Translational Medicine, had a markedly different gut microbiome than did the uninfected participants.
Specifically, they harbored more harmful species, such as Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus, that can cause inflammation. The extent of the so-called dysbiosis was correlated with tryptophan catabolism and plasma concentrations of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6, which are known markers of HIV progression.
One implication, they concluded, is that intestinal microbiomic engineering in HIV patients might be a new therapeutic strategy for managing disease progression.