Background: Rifaximin, a nonabsorbable antibiotic that decreases lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in cirrhotics, may decrease the elevated levels of microbial translocation, T-cell activation and inflammation in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive immune nonresponders to antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Methods: HIV-positive adults receiving ART for ≥96 weeks with undetectable viremia for ≥48 weeks and CD4(+) T-cell counts <350 cells/mm(3) were randomized 2:1 to rifaximin versus no study treatment for 4 weeks. T-cell activation, LPS, and soluble CD14 were measured at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, and 8. Wilcoxon rank sum tests compared changes between arms.
Results: Compared with no study treatment (n = 22), rifaximin (n = 43) use was associated with a significant difference between study arms in the change from baseline to week 4 for CD8(+)T-cell activation (median change, 0.0% with rifaximin vs +0.6% with no treatment; P = .03). This difference was driven by an increase in the no-study-treatment arm because there was no significant change within the rifaximin arm. Similarly, although there were significant differences between study arms in change from baseline to week 2 for LPS and soluble CD14, there were no significant changes within the rifaximin arm.
Conclusions: In immune nonresponders to ART, rifaximin minimally affected microbial translocation and CD8(+)T-cell activation. Trial registration number. NCT01466595.
Keywords: HIV; immune activation; immune nonresponders to ART; inflammation; microbial translocation; rifaximin.
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