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Mucosal Immunol. 2014 Jul;7(4):983-94. doi: 10.1038/mi.2013.116. Epub 2014 Jan 8.

An altered intestinal mucosal microbiome in HIV-1 infection is associated with mucosal and systemic immune activation and endotoxemia.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA.
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.
  • 3Department of Immunology-Microbiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
  • 4Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
  • 51] Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA [2] University of Colorado Microbiome Research Consortium, Aurora, Colorado, USA.


Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection disrupts the intestinal immune system, leading to microbial translocation and systemic immune activation. We investigated the impact of HIV-1 infection on the intestinal microbiome and its association with mucosal T-cell and dendritic cell (DC) frequency and activation, as well as with levels of systemic T-cell activation, inflammation, and microbial translocation. Bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing was performed on colon biopsies and fecal samples from subjects with chronic, untreated HIV-1 infection and uninfected control subjects. Colon biopsies of HIV-1-infected subjects had increased abundances of Proteobacteria and decreased abundances of Firmicutes compared with uninfected donors. Furthermore at the genus level, a significant increase in Prevotella and decrease in Bacteroides was observed in HIV-1-infected subjects, indicating a disruption in the Bacteroidetes bacterial community structure. This HIV-1-associated increase in Prevotella abundance was associated with increased numbers of activated colonic T cells and myeloid DCs. Principal coordinates analysis demonstrated an HIV-1-related change in the microbiome that was associated with increased mucosal cellular immune activation, microbial translocation, and blood T-cell activation. These observations suggest that an important relationship exists between altered mucosal bacterial communities and intestinal inflammation during chronic HIV-1 infection.

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