Anaerobic Bacterial Fermentation Products Increase Tuberculosis Risk in Antiretroviral-Drug-Treated HIV Patients
HIV treatment could increase the risk of tuberculosis by creating short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that block the body’s immune response to TB.
Antiretroviral drugs can help improve the immune response in people with HIV, but many patients are still highly vulnerable to tuberculosis (TB). A team including researchers from the University of Cape Town studied blood samples and microbes in the lungs of HIV patients being treated with antiretroviral drugs. They found that increased anaerobic bacteria in the lungs, associated with the disease, increased the number of two SCFAs, butyrate and propionate. The researchers found that, in blood cells of antiretroviral treated patients, these SCFAs block the production of two proteins, IFN-y and IL-17A, which are vital parts of the immune response to the TB bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
This study suggests that monitoring SCFA levels in the lung could help predict TB risk among HIV patients taking antiretroviral drugs.
- Cell Host & Microbe 21, 530-537 (2017). doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2017.03.003