Stool Samples From the Eighties Hold Clues to Fighting HIV Today


By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — What do all of the microbes residing rent-free in your intestine should do with illness threat? Perhaps lots.

A groundbreaking analysis of decades-old stool and blood samples from the early AIDS epidemic means that males who had excessive ranges of inflammation-causing micro organism of their intestinal tract might have had a better threat for contracting HIV.

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At challenge is the precise make-up of the micro organism, fungi, algae and different single-celled organisms that colonize everybody’s digestive tract. Collectively, they’re often known as the gut microbiome.

“A healthy gut microbiome is essential for many bodily functions, such as turning food into energy, fighting bad pathogens and maintaining the lining of our intestines,” mentioned examine lead creator Yue Chen, an affiliate professor of infectious illnesses and microbiology on the University of Pittsburgh. “Scientists are increasingly learning that it has other wide-ranging impacts, including fighting cancer, influencing our behavior and activating our immune response.”

This new examine discovered that males contaminated within the early levels of the HIV/AIDS pandemic had extra pro-inflammatory intestine microbes earlier than they grew to become HIV-positive than did males who remained HIV-negative.

And sure sorts of intestine microbes appeared to be related to a faster development from HIV an infection to full-blown AIDS, the examine discovered.

Study co-author Charles Rinaldo mentioned he’d been wanting into a possible hyperlink between the microbiome and HIV/AIDS for the higher a part of 4 a long time.

That effort kicked into excessive gear as soon as he and his colleagues at Pitt uncovered “a treasure trove of specimens” obtainable for evaluation — particularly, 35-year-old stool and blood samples collected from a gaggle of homosexual males beginning in 1984.

All had been a part of a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) study, and all of the samples had been frozen.

That allowed researchers recent entry to samples from 265 males.

None had HIV once they joined the NIH’s examine. Within a yr of offering blood and stool samples, nevertheless, 109 had contracted the virus that causes AIDS.

To the twenty first century researchers, their samples had been telling.

“Participants who went on to contract HIV had a greater relative abundance of ‘Prevotella stercorea’ — a bacterium that promotes inflammation — and lower levels of four ‘Bacteroides’ species that are known to be involved in immune response,” Chen famous.

Analyses of blood samples additionally indicated that individuals who finally contracted HIV had larger ranges of irritation earlier than they had been contaminated, Chen mentioned.

“My colleagues and I believe that the unfavorable gut microbiome was aggravating the immune response and promoting inflammation, making the men more susceptible to contracting HIV, and less able to prevent the disease from progressing to AIDS in a time before antiretroviral therapy existed,” Chen mentioned.

And although a scientific blast from the previous, the brand new findings may provide perception into tackling a bunch of present and rising viral challenges, the researchers mentioned.

“It is important for us to understand that humans are complex organisms that host other complex organisms,” mentioned Rinaldo, a professor of infectious illnesses and microbiology.

“What we eat, our activities and environmental exposures, and a variety of other factors can all influence how we respond to a pathogen and whether we become seriously ill or have a benign infection,” he defined. “If the gut microbiome influences a person’s susceptibility to HIV in this way, it could be doing the same for other pathogens, such as COVID-19.”

Two consultants, who weren’t concerned within the examine however reviewed the findings, agreed.

“The microbiome is one component of how your body responds immunologically,” mentioned Dr. Christina Price, chief of medical allergy and medical immunology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. She described the findings as “interesting” and “remarkable,” however under no circumstances shocking.

Along with our pores and skin, tears, mucus and saliva, the intestine is likely one of the main pure immunity protection methods, added Lona Sandon of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Sandon referred to her personal analysis into an obvious hyperlink between microbiome standing and rheumatoid arthritis threat. That work, she mentioned, confirmed that whereas “a healthy gut microbiome keeps the gut wall healthy,” microbial disruptions can undermine the intestine’s safety from illness.

“If the microbiome creates an environment in which these tissues cannot respond effectively, then immunity will be negatively impacted,” she mentioned.

The new findings had been revealed on-line Dec. 9 within the journal Microbiome.

More info

Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health has extra about the microbiome.

SOURCES: Yue Chen, PhD, affiliate professor, infectious illnesses and microbiology, University of Pittsburgh; Charles Rinaldo, PhD, professor, infectious illnesses and microbiology, University of Pittsburgh; Christina Price, MD, chief, medical allergy and immunology, Yale University, and chief, allergy and medical immunology, West Haven VA, New Haven, Conn.; Lona Sandon, PhD, MEd, RDN, LD, program director and assistant professor, division of medical diet, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; Microbiome, Dec. 9, 2021, on-line

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