Background: Alterations in the gut microbiome have been associated with inflammation and increased cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected individuals. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) on intestinal inflammation, gut microbiota composition, and systemic markers of microbial translocation and inflammation in HIV-infected individuals.
Methods: This prospective, clinical interventional trial included 45 individuals [15 combination antiretroviral treatment (cART) naive and 30 cART treated] who ingested LGG twice daily at a dosage of 6 × 109 colony-forming units per capsule for a period of 8 weeks. Intestinal inflammation was assessed using F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (F-FDG PET/MRI) scans in 15 individuals. Gut microbiota composition (V3-V4 region of the 16s rRNA gene) and markers of microbial translocation and inflammation (lipopolysaccharide, sCD14, sCD163, sCD25, high-sensitive CRP, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha) were analyzed at baseline and after intervention.
Results: At baseline, evidence of intestinal inflammation was found in 75% of the participants, with no significant differences between cART-naive and cART-treated individuals. After LGG supplementation, a decrease in intestinal inflammation was detected on PET/MRI (-0.3 mean difference in the combined activity grade score from 6 regions, P = 0.006), along with a reduction of Enterobacteriaceae (P = 0.018) and Erysipelotrichaceae (P = 0.037) in the gut microbiome, with reduced Enterobacteriaceae among individuals with decreased F-FDG uptake on PET/MRI (P = 0.048). No changes were observed for soluble markers of microbial translocation and inflammation.
Conclusions: A decrease in intestinal inflammation was found in HIV-infected individuals after ingestion of LGG along with a reduced abundance of Enterobacteriaceae, which may explain the local anti-inflammatory effect in the gut.