New research from UCLA in mice suggests that adding a certain type of tomato paste to the diet may reduce the intestinal inflammation associated with HIV. If left untreated, intestinal inflammation can accelerate arterial disease, which in turn can lead to heart attack and stroke.
The findings provide clues as to how the altered intestinal tract affects disease-causing inflammation in people with chronic HIV infection, suggesting that targeting the inflamed intestinal wall may be a new way to prevent disease. systemic inflammation that persists even when antiviral therapy is effective in controlling a person’s HIV.
The study is published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS pathogens.
“Inflammation is an important process that protects the body against infections and invading toxins,” said Dr Theodoros Kelesidis, lead author of the article and associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School. of Medicine from UCLA. “But in people who are successfully treated for HIV to the point where their viral load is no longer detectable, the continued low-grade inflammation in cells in the gut contributes to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. “
It has been found that people living with HIV suffer from a condition called “leaky gut”, in which products in the bacteria in the gut, such as lipopolysaccharides, travel to other parts of the body through the circulation. blood. These products promote systemic inflammation and can accelerate coronary heart disease, Kelesidis said.
The researchers worked with mice that had been infected with HIV and whose immune systems had been altered to mimic that of humans. The mice were fed a diet containing Tg6F tomato paste, while the rest were fed a normal mouse diet low in fat, cholesterol and calories.
Tg6F comes from a specific type of genetically modified tomato; it contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant peptides called apoA-I mimetic peptides, which mimic the main HDL protein, “good cholesterol”.
The researchers looked at proteins called cytokines and chemokines that are known to predict inflammation in the gut and blood, which may bode negative results for people with chronic HIV infection.
They found that mice that received Tg6F had lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in their gut and blood than mice that received the standard diet. In addition, they found that Tg6F prevented increased levels of a protein called ADAM17, which orchestrates inflammatory responses in people with chronic HIV infection. Researchers have confirmed the anti-inflammatory effects of apoA-I mimetics in intestinal biopsies from people living with HIV.
“Targeting the inflamed gut with the peptide that mimics the main HDL protein may be a way to prevent systemic inflammation in people with chronic HIV,” Kelesidis said. “The administration of oral apoA-I mimetics with oral antivirals may be an exciting new therapy for treating inflammation and preventing illness and death due to HIV. “
The authors note in the article that mice cannot fully recreate all aspects of HIV infection in humans. Additionally, intestinal biopsies used to test the effects of apoA-I mimetics do not fully reflect how inflammation works in a living human body.
Study co-authors include Maria Daskou, Dr William Mu, Scott Kitchen, Dr Alan Fogelman, and Srinivasa Reddy, all from UCLA. A complete list of authors is published in the journal.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the UCLA Center for AIDS Research, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the California HIV / AIDS Research Program, and the Campbell Foundation.