Background: Microbial translocation and chronic inflammation may contribute to non-AIDS morbidity in patients with HIV. This study assessed the impact of probiotic intervention on microbial translocation and inflammation in patients on antiretroviral therapy with viral suppression and subnormal CD4 count.
Methods: Thirty-two patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (CD4 <500 cells/μL) were randomized in a double-blind fashion to multistrain daily probiotics (n = 15), placebo (n = 9), or controls (n = 8) for 8 weeks. Soluble inflammation markers, D-dimer, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), sCD14, T-cell activation, tryptophan metabolites, and gut microbiota composition were analyzed at baseline and end of study. Nonparametric statistics were applied.
Results: Twenty-four participants completed the study and were included in as-treated analyses. In patients receiving probiotics, there was a significant reduction in D-dimer levels (median change 33%, P = 0.03) and a tendency to reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) (P = 0.05) and interleukin (IL)-6 (P = 0.06). The changes in CRP and IL-6 were highly correlated (r = 0.95, P < 0.01), whereas changes in D-dimer did not correlate with changes in CRP or IL-6. Increases in Bifidobacteria (P = 0.04) and Lactobacilli (P = 0.06) were observed in the probiotic group, whereas the relative abundance of Bacteroides decreased (P ≤ 0.01). No significant changes were seen in markers of microbial translocation or T-cell activation. However, the expansion of Bifidobacteria correlated negatively with differences in LPS (r = -0.77, P = 0.01), whereas the reduction in Bacteroides correlated positively with changes in LPS during the study period (r = 0.72, P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Probiotic intervention seemed to reduce markers of coagulation and inflammation without overt changes in microbial translocation. These findings warrant further studies in larger cohorts with long-term follow-up.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01439841.