Nutrients 2017 11 219(11) pii 10.3390/nu9111269
Gut microbiota has metabolic activity which influences mucosal homeostasis, local and systemic immune responses, and other anatomical systems (i.e., brain). The effects of dysbiosis are still poorly studied in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) positive subjects and insufficient data are available on the impairment of the gut-brain axis, despite neurocognitive disorders being commonly diagnosed in these patients. This study evaluated the impact of a probiotic supplementation strategy on intrathecal immune activation and cognitive performance in combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) treated HIV-1 infected subjects.
Thirty-five HIV-1 infected individuals were included in this study. At baseline (T0) a battery of tests was administered, to evaluate neurocognitive function and a lumbar puncture was performed to determine neopterin concentration in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), as a marker of Central Nervous System (CNS) immune activation. Subsequently, a subgroup of participants underwent a 6-month course of multi-strain probiotics supplementation; this intervention group was evaluated, after probiotic treatment, with a second lumbar puncture and with repeated neurocognitive tests.
At T0, all participants showed impaired results in at least one neurocognitive test and elevated neopterin concentrations in CSF. After supplementation with probiotics (T6), the interventional group presented a significant decrease in neopterin concentration and a significant improvement in several neurocognitive tests. In contrast, no significant modifications were observed in the neurocognitive performance of controls between T0 and T6. The CNS Penetration Effectiveness Score of antiretroviral therapy did not show an influence from any of the investigated variables.
Multi-strain probiotic supplementation seems to exert a positive effect on neuroinflammation and neurocognitive impairment in HIV-1 infected subjects, but large trials are needed to support the concept that modulation of the gut microbiota can provide specific neurological benefits in these patients.