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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2010 Nov;55(3):306-15. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181ecfeca.

A role for syndecan-1 and claudin-2 in microbial translocation during HIV-1 infection.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Microbial translocation from the gastrointestinal tract has been implicated in chronic activation of the immune system during progressive HIV-1 infection by ill-defined mechanisms. We recently identified a gene encoding syndecan-1 (SYN1) in microarray studies of HIV-1 infection in lymphatic tissues and show here that increased expression of SYN1 in the gut of HIV-1-infected individuals is associated with increased microbial translocation. We further show that: (1) microbial access to SYN1 in the intestinal epithelium could be mediated by compromised barrier function through the upregulation of claudin-2; (2) increases in SYN1 and microbial translocation are associated with systemic immune activation; and (3) SYN1 expression and microbial translocation are inversely correlated with peripheral blood CD4 T-cell counts. We thus propose a new mechanism in which claudin-2 and SYN1 work in concert to enhance microbial translocation across the intestinal epithelial barrier to contribute to chronic immune activation and CD4 T-cell depletion.

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