Previous studies have suggested that the dysfunction of the gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa is likely to play a role in the non-infectious comorbidities and mortality of HIV infection, and persists despite antiretroviral therapy. Neutrophils are important for containing pathogens, but they can also cause tissue damage from their release of reactive oxygen species. The authors used flow cytometry to investigate increased neutrophil lifespan as a potential mechanism for GI neutrophil accumulation in chronic, treated HIV infection and whether gastrointestinal dysbiosis plays a role. They found that increased neutrophil survival does contribute to neutrophil accumulation in colorectal biopsy tissues, suggesting that the neutrophil lifespan could be a new therapeutic target for mucosal inflammation in HIV infection. They also found that the intestinal microbiome of colorectal biopsies contains a reduced Lactobacillus : Prevotella ratio associated with neutrophil survival, suggesting that these intestinal bacteria may contribute to GI neutrophil accumulation in treated HIV infection. The authors also found that Lactobacillus species uniquely decrease neutrophil survival and neutrophil frequency in vitro, which could have important therapeutic implications for reducing neutrophil-driven inflammation in HIV and other chronic inflammatory conditions.
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