OBJECTIVE: Persistent inflammation and higher risk to develop cardiovascular diseases still represent a major complication for HIV-infected patients despite effective antiretroviral therapy (ART). We investigated the correlation between the gut microbiota profile, markers of inflammation, vascular endothelial activation (VEA) and microbial translocation (MT) in perinatally HIV-infected patients (PHIV) under ART.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study including 61 ART-treated PHIV (age range 3-30 years old) and 71 age-matched healthy controls. Blood and stool sample were collected at the same time and analyzed for gut microbiota composition and plasma biomarkers.
METHODS: Gut microbiota composition was determined by 16S rRNA targeted-metagenomics. Soluble markers of MT, inflammation and VEA were quantified by ELISA or Luminex assay. Markers of immune activation were analyzed by flow cytometry on CD4 and CD8T cells.
RESULTS: We identified two distinct gut microbiota profiles (groups A and B) among PHIV. No different clinical parameters (age, sex, ethnicity, clinical class), dietary and sexual habits were found between the groups. The group A showed a relative dominance of Akkermansia muciniphila, whereas gut microbiota of group B was characterized by a higher biodiversity. The analysis of soluble markers revealed a significantly higher level of soluble E-selectine (P = 0.0296), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (P = 0.0028), vascular adhesion molecule-1 (P = 0.0230), IL-6 (P = 0.0247) and soluble CD14 (P = 0.0142) in group A compared with group B.
CONCLUSION: Distinctive gut microbiota profiles are differently associated with inflammation, microbial translocation and VEA. Future studies are needed to understand the role of A. muciniphila and risk to develop cardiovascular diseases in PHIV.