Gut microbiome and cardiometabolic comorbidities in people living with HIV

Microbiome. 2024 Jun 14;12(1):106. doi: 10.1186/s40168-024-01815-y.


Background: Despite modern antiretroviral therapy (ART), people living with HIV (PLWH) have increased relative risk of inflammatory-driven comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease (CVD). The gut microbiome could be one of several driving factors, along with traditional risk factors and HIV-related risk factors such as coinfections, ART toxicity, and past immunodeficiency.

Results: PLWH have an altered gut microbiome, even after adjustment for known confounding factors including sexual preference. The HIV-related microbiome has been associated with cardiometabolic comorbidities, and shares features with CVD-related microbiota profiles, in particular reduced capacity for short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) generation. Substantial inter-individual variation has so far been an obstacle for applying microbiota profiles for risk stratification. This review covers updated knowledge and recent advances in our understanding of the gut microbiome and comorbidities in PLWH, with specific focus on cardiometabolic comorbidities and inflammation. It covers a comprehensive overview of HIV-related and comorbidity-related dysbiosis, microbial translocation, and microbiota-derived metabolites. It also contains recent data from studies in PLWH on circulating metabolites related to comorbidities and underlying gut microbiota alterations, including circulating levels of the SCFA propionate, the histidine-analogue imidazole propionate, and the protective metabolite indole-3-propionic acid.

Conclusions: Despite recent advances, the gut microbiome and related metabolites are not yet established as biomarkers or therapeutic targets. The review gives directions for future research needed to advance the field into clinical practice, including promises and pitfalls for precision medicine. Video Abstract.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / microbiology
  • Comorbidity*
  • Dysbiosis* / microbiology
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Risk Factors


  • Fatty Acids, Volatile