When left untreated, this gut condition an inflamed can accelerate arterial disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, according to research from UCLA.
New research in mice from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) suggests that adding a certain type of tomato concentrate to the diet can reduce the intestinal inflammation associated with HIV.
When left untreated, intestinal inflammation can accelerate arterial disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
The findings provide clues as to how the altered intestinal tract affects disease-causing inflammation for individuals with chronic HIV infections, which suggests that targeting the inflamed intestinal wall may be a novel way to prevent systemic inflammation that persists, even when antiviral therapy is effective in controlling an individual’s HIV.
“Inflammation is an important process that protects the body from invading infections and toxins,” Theodoros Kelesidis, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said in a statement. “But in individuals who are successfully treated for HIV to the point that their viral load is no longer detectable, the continuing low-grade inflammation in the cells of the intestine contributes to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.”.
Individuals with HIV have been found to have a condition called “leaky gut,” in which lipopolysaccharides in the gut bacteria move to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. The lipopolysaccharides promote systemic inflammation and can accelerate coronary disease, Kelesidis said.
Investigators used mice that were infected with HIV and whose immune systems had been altered to mimic those of humans. The mice were fed a diet that contained the tomato concentrate Tg6F, while other mice were fed a normal diet low in calories, cholesterol, and fat.
Tg6F is a specific type of genetically modified tomato that contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant peptides called apoA-I mimetic peptides, which imitate the main protein in high-density lipoprotein, also known as ”good” cholesterol.
The investigators examined proteins called chemokines and cytokines that are known to predict blood and intestinal inflammation, which can indicate adverse outcomes for individuals with chronic HIV infection.
They found that mice that were given Tg6F had lower levels of pro-inflammatory chemokines and cytokines in their gut and blood than the mice that received the standard diet.
Additionally, the investigators discovered that Tg6F prevented an increase in levels of a protein called ADAM17 that orchestrates inflammatory responses in individuals with chronic HIV infection. The investigators confirmed the anti-inflammatory effects of apoA-I mimetics in gut biopsies from individuals with HIV.
“Targeting the inflamed intestine with the peptide that mimics the main protein in HDL may be a way of preventing systemic inflammation in people with chronic HIV,” Kelesidis said.. “Giving oral apoA-I mimetics together with oral antivirals may be an attractive novel therapy to treat inflammation and prevent disease and death in HIV..”
Mice cannot fully recreate all aspects of humans’ HIV infection, the investigators said.
Also, the gut biopsies used to test the effects of apoA-I mimetics do not fully reflect how inflammation works within a living human body.
The study is published in PLOS Pathogens.
Tomato concentrate could help reduce chronic intestinal inflammation associated with HIV. EurekAlert. News release. January 11, 2022. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/939880