HIV and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are both associated with gut microbiota alterations, low-grade endotoxemia and increased cardiovascular risk. We investigated the potential role of plasma extracellular vesicles (EVs) in relation to these processes. Plasma EVs were isolated by size exclusion chromatography in fasting individuals with HIV and T2D (n = 16), T2D only (n = 14), HIV only (n = 20) or healthy controls (n = 19), and characterized by transmission electron microscopy, western blot, nanoparticle tracking analysis and quantitative proteomics. The findings were compared to gut microbiota alterations, lipopolysaccharide levels and cardiovascular risk profile. Individuals with concomitant HIV and T2D had higher plasma EV concentration, which correlated closely with plasma lipopolysaccharides, triglycerides and Framingham score, but not with gut microbiota alterations. Proteomic analyses identified 558 human proteins, largely related to cardiometabolic disease genes and upstream regulation of inflammatory pathways, including IL-6 and IL-1β, as well as 30 bacterial proteins, mostly from lipopolysaccharide-producing Proteobacteria. Our study supports that EVs are related to microbial translocation processes in individuals with HIV and T2D. Their proteomic content suggests a contributing role in low-grade inflammation and cardiovascular risk development. The present approach for exploring gut-host crosstalk can potentially identify novel diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
© 2021. The Author(s).