International journal of molecular sciences 2017 10 1918(10) pii 10.3390/ijms18102185
Here, we investigated the effects of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) on immune profiles and intestinal microbial translocation among children infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This prospective study included 60 HIV-infected children-including 31 without antiretroviral therapy (ART) (HIV(+)) and 29 who received ART for a median of 3.5 years (ART(+)) and 20 children without HIV infection (HIV(-)). Participants were recruited in Vietnam. All children were given fermented milk containing LcS (6.5 × 10⁸ cfu) daily for 8 weeks. Before and after LcS ingestion, blood samples were collected for virological, immunological, and bacteriological analyses. After LcS ingestion, peripheral CD4⁺ T-cell and Th2 (CXCR3(-)CCR6(-)CD4⁺) counts significantly increased in both HIV-infected groups; Th17 (CXCR3(-)CCR6⁺CD4⁺) counts increased in all three groups; regulatory T-cell (CD25(high)CD4⁺) counts decreased in the ART(+) and HIV(-) groups; activated CD8⁺ cells (CD38⁺HLA-DR⁺CD8⁺) decreased from 27.5% to 13.2% (p < 0.001) in HIV(+) children; and plasma HIV load decreased slightly but significantly among HIV(+) children. No group showed a significantly altered frequency of bacterial 16S/23S rRNA gene detection in the plasma. No serious adverse events occurred. These findings suggest that short-term LcS ingestion is a safe supportive approach with immunological and virological benefits in HIV-infected children.