Liver Bacterial Dysbiosis With Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacteria Occurs in SIV-Infected Macaques and Persists During Antiretroviral Therapy

Front Immunol. 2022 Jan 10:12:793842. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.793842. eCollection 2021.


Liver disease is a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected individuals, even during successful viral suppression with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Similar to HIV infection, SIV infection of rhesus macaques is associated with gut microbiome dysbiosis and microbial translocation that can be detected systemically in the blood. As microbes leaving the intestines must first pass through the liver via the portal vein, we evaluated the livers of both SIV-infected (SIV+) and SIV-infected cART treated (SIV+cART) rhesus macaques for evidence of microbial changes compared to uninfected macaques. Dysbiosis was observed in both the SIV+ and SIV+cART macaques, encompassing changes in the relative abundance of several genera, including a reduction in the levels of Lactobacillus and Staphylococcus. Most strikingly, we found an increase in the relative abundance and absolute quantity of bacteria within the Mycobacterium genus in both SIV+ and SIV+cART macaques. Multi-gene sequencing identified a species of atypical mycobacteria similar to the opportunistic pathogen M. smegmatis. Phosphatidyl inositol lipoarabinomannan (PILAM) (a glycolipid cell wall component found in atypical mycobacteria) stimulation in primary human hepatocytes resulted in an upregulation of inflammatory transcriptional responses, including an increase in the chemokines associated with neutrophil recruitment (CXCL1, CXCL5, and CXCL6). These studies provide key insights into SIV associated changes in hepatic microbial composition and indicate a link between microbial components and immune cell recruitment in SIV+ and SIV+cART treated macaques.

Keywords: 16S rRNA gene; HIV/SIV; liver; microbiome; neutrophils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Coinfection* / immunology
  • Coinfection* / microbiology
  • Dysbiosis* / immunology
  • Dysbiosis* / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Liver / microbiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous* / immunology
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous* / microbiology
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome* / immunology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome* / microbiology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents