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Biores Open Access. 2013 Oct;2(5):385-91. doi: 10.1089/biores.2013.0013.

Effects of Succinic Acid and Other Microbial Fermentation Products on HIV Expression in Macrophages.

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Department of Immunology/Microbiology, Rush University Medical Center , Chicago, Illinois.


Bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common condition in women, is associated with increased shedding of HIV in the female genital tract. While the Lactobacillus species that comprise a healthy vaginal microbiota produce lactic acid, the bacteria common in BV produce high concentrations of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and succinic acid. Macrophages are abundant in the lower genital tract mucosa and are thought to play an important role in HIV infection. In this study, we investigated whether SCFAs and succinic acid impacted HIV expression in monocyte-derived macrophages. Monocytes differentiated with either granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) were infected with either HIVBal or an HIV-luciferase reporter virus and treated with SCFAs, succinic acid, or lactic acid. Butyric acid suppressed HIV expression while succinic acid significantly increased expression in macrophages differentiated with either GM-CSF or M-CSF. Acetic, propionic, and lactic acids had no effect on HIV expression. Only succinic acid resulted in a significant increase in interleukin-8 production by infected macrophages. Our results suggest that succinic acid present in increased concentrations in the genital tract of women with BV plays a pro-inflammatory role and increases HIV expression. This could be one factor contributing to increased virus shedding seen in women with BV.


HIV; bacterial vaginosis; inflammation; macrophage; short chain fatty acids; succinic acid

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