Uncertain clinical significance of duodenal mucosal abnormalities in HIV-infected individuals. Results of a case-control study

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1996 Jul;23(1):11-4. doi: 10.1097/00004836-199607000-00004.


Previous research has described abnormalities of duodenal mucosal morphology in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. We wanted to determine the frequency of disturbed villus architecture and investigate its relationship to HIV-related chronic diarrhea. We conducted a case-control study of 120 HIV-infected men, 63 with and 57 without chronic diarrhea. Stools were cultured for bacteria and examined for ova and parasites; esophagogastroduodenoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy with mucosal biopsies were performed. Biopsy tissue was examined using light and electron microscopy to detect enteric pathogens and to evaluate mucosal morphology. The mean CD4+ cell count was 143/min3, and enteric pathogens were detected in 56 of 120 men (47%). In approximately half the study sample (57%), duodenal villus architecture was normal; complete villus flattening was not observed. We detected no association between chronic diarrhea and altered villus architecture. Although further study is needed to clarify the pathogenesis of altered duodenal mucosal morphology, our results suggest that the clinical significance of the abnormalities may be small.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Duodenum / pathology*
  • HIV Enteropathy / microbiology
  • HIV Enteropathy / parasitology
  • HIV Enteropathy / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microvilli / pathology
  • Nutrition Assessment