Researchers performed an annotation of gene sequences of patients with HIV and associated an infection with impaired microbial vitamin B synthesis and down regulation of the microbial thiamine, folate, and amino acid biosynthesis pathways. The study was published in Microbial Pathogenesis.

Additionally, “microbial vitamin B and amino acid synthesis pathways were not significantly recovered by [antiretroviral treatment (ART)] when we compared 262 ART positive and 184 ART negative individuals,” said the study’s lead author, Sung Yong Park.

In order to infer metagenome profiles, the study’s designers annotated 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences from 305 patients with HIV and 249 HIV negative controls and adjusted for geographic region, sex, sexual behavior, and age.

The investigators reported that around half of the gene families in the thiamine and folate biosynthesis pathways were significantly less present in the patients with HIV versus the controls. They noted this result was consistent with the high frequency of thiamine and folate disorders in HIV infections. Given the link between B-vitamin deficiencies, inflammation, and cardiovascular and neurocognitive diseases, HIV-induced microbiome shifts could lead to development of these comorbid disorders, according to the study.

The authors suggested that their findings provide a deeper understanding of vitamin B and amino acid deficiencies in patients with HIV, and speculated that reversing HIV-induced microbiome shifts could potentially lessen the severity of HIV comorbidities.

Source: Microbial Pathogenesis