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Leaky gut -- A source of non-AIDS complications in HIV-positive patients
Date:9/3/2014

the tight junctions correlated with increased microbial translocation and a greater level of inflammation throughout the body," Levine said. "This finding provides evidence that a defect in the gut wall allowing bacterial products to leak out is the likely source of immune activation and subsequent inflammation. Basically, we found with this group of HIV-positive patients that the gut is leaky and why."

These findings provide a clear target for clinical intervention repair the molecular and structural epithelial leakiness in the tight junctions of the colon. However, critical questions must be resolved: Is the disruption caused by an HIV infection, the remaining HIV virus itself, antiretroviral drugs or all three combined to play a role in weakened tight junctions? What changes in epithelial cells might cause decreased activity of the tight junctions? Will repairs to the tight junction lead to stronger barrier function and reduced gut leakiness? Will reduced gut leakiness result in less systemic inflammation and therefore cause less cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, chronic kidney and metabolic diseases, and cancer in the virally suppressed HIV-positive patient?

"The key observation here is that virally suppressed HIV-positive patients have an important molecular and tissue defect a leaky gut," Levine said. "Thus, the clinical implication is quite clear. We will need additional supplemental therapeutic approaches to repair this damaged epithelium in the colon."


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Contact: Jeannette Spalding
jeannette.spalding@case.edu
216-368-3004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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