HIV infection and cardiovascular disease are both known to alter the gut microbiota. Yet it’s unclear how changes in gut microbiota influence systemic inflammation and risk for atherosclerosis (plaque buildup within arteries). Zheng Wang, Ph.D., Qibin Qi, Ph.D., and their colleagues recently studied the association of gut bacteria and atherosclerosis among 320 women enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study and the Women's Interagency HIV Study (MWCCS). Their results published online on May 27 in Microbiome. The team found that the gut bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum was associated with a higher risk for having carotid-artery plaque, while five other gut bacterial species were linked with a lower risk for arterial plaque. The presence of Fusobacterium nucleatum was also associated with higher levels of CXCL9, an inflammation marker in blood. Overall, the study findings suggest that inflammation associated with the presence of Fusobacterium nucleatum might be related to the buildup of arterial plaque.
The findings shed light on how atherosclerosis develops and indicate that modifying the microbiota or reducing inflammation could be useful therapeutic strategies for treating or preventing atherosclerosis. People living with HIV may especially benefit from such interventions.
Dr. Wang is an assistant professor of epidemiology & population health at Einstein. Dr. Qi is an associate professor of epidemiology & population health at Einstein.
Posted on: Friday, July 28, 2023