Stool samples from the 1980s contain traces of the fight against HIV today

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Author: Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, December 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) – What do all the microbes that live in your gut have to do with rent-free risk of disease? Maybe a lot.

Revolutionary analysis decades-old stool and blood samples from the early ones AIDS the epidemic suggests that men who had high levels inflammation-causing bacteria in their intestinal tract could have a higher risk of HIV infection.

It is a specific composition of bacteria, fungi, algae and other unicellular organisms that colonize everyone’s digestive tract. Together they are known as intestinal microbiome.

“Hello intestinal microbiome is essential for many bodily functions, such as converting food into energy, fighting bad pathogens and maintaining the lining of our gut, “said study lead author Yue Chen, associate professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh.” Scientists are increasingly learning that it has other broad influences, including fighting cancer, influencing our behavior, and activating our immune response. ”

This new study found that men are infected in the early stages of HIV / AIDS pandemic they had more pro-inflammatory gut microbes before they became HIV positive than men who remained HIV negative.

Certain types of intestinal microbes appeared to be associated with faster progression from HIV infection to complete AIDS, research has shown.

The co – author of the study, Charles Rinaldo, said that he investigated the potential connection between microbiome and HIV / AIDS for most of the four decades.

The effort began at high speed after he and his colleagues in Pitt discovered a “treasure trove of samples” available for analysis – namely, 35-year-old stool and blood samples collected from a group of homosexuals since 1984.

They were all part of a Study by the American National Institutes of Health (NIH), and all samples were frozen.

This allowed researchers a new approach to samples from 265 men.

No one had HIV when they joined the NIH study. However, within a year of donating blood and stool samples, 109 were infected with the AIDS-causing virus.

21st century researchers have been told by their patterns.

“Participants who later became infected with HIV had a higher relative amount ‘Prevotella stercorea’ – bacteria that promote inflammation – and lower levels four ‘Bacteroides’ species known to be involved in the immune response, ”Chen noted.

Analyzes of blood samples also showed that participants who eventually became infected with HIV had higher levels of inflammation before they became infected, Chen said.

“My colleagues and I believe that the unfavorable intestinal microbiome worsened the immune response and fueled inflammation, making men more susceptible to HIV infection and less able to prevent the disease from progressing to AIDS in the time before antiretroviral therapy existed,” Chen said.

And although they are a scientific explosion of the past, the new discoveries could offer insight into addressing a range of current and new viral challenges, the researchers said.

“It’s important for us to understand that humans are complex organisms that host other complex organisms,” said Rinaldo, a professor of infectious diseases and microbiology.

“What we eat, our activities and exposure to the environment, and a number of other factors can affect how we react to a pathogen and whether we become seriously ill or have a benign infection,” he explained. “If the gut microbiome affects a person’s susceptibility to HIV in this way, it could do the same for other pathogens, such as COVID-19.”

Two experts agreed, who were not included in the study but reviewed the findings.

“Microbiome is one component of the way your body responds immune,” said Dr. Christina Price, head of clinical allergy and clinical immunology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. She described the results as “interesting” and “extraordinary”, but not at all surprising.

Along with our skin, tears, mucus and saliva, the gut is one of the primary natural immune defense systems, added Lona Sandon of the Southwestern Medical Center of the University of Texas at Dallas.

Sandon commented on her own research on the apparent association between microbiome status and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. That work, she said, showed that while “a healthy gut microbiome keeps the gut wall healthy,” microbial disorders can undermine gut protection from disease.

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

The new findings were published online Dec. 9 in the journal Microbiome.

More information

Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health has more on that microbiome.

SOURCES: Yue Chen, PhD, Associate Professor, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh; Charles Rinaldo, Ph.D., Professor of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh; Christina Price, MD, Head of Clinical Allergy and Immunology, Yale University, and Head of the Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, West Haven VA, New Haven, Conn .; Lona Sandon, PhD, MEd, RDN, LD, Program Director and Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Nutrition, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Microbiome, December 9, 2021, online

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