Microbial translocation (MT) markers are indicators of HIV-related immune activation, but reference values are mostly derived from European or North American populations and could be substantially different in populations living in developing countries. Here we evaluate possible differences in MT markers levels in HIV+ pregnant women of different geographical provenance.
This study is nested within an observational study of pregnant women with HIV in Italy. Women were dichotomized on the basis of provenance in two groups of European (n = 14) and African (n = 26) origin. Soluble CD14, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) and intestinal-fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) were measured in plasma samples collected between the first and second trimester of pregnancy.
Demographic and viroimmunological characteristics were similar between groups, although European women were more commonly smokers and HCV-coinfected. Irrespective of origin, LBP plasma levels were positively correlated with I-FABP (r = 0.467, p = 0.004) and sCD14 levels (r = 0.312 p = 0.060). Significantly higher levels of sCD14 (1885 vs. 1208 ng/mL, p = 0.005) LBP (28.5 vs. 25.3 µg/mL, p = 0.050) and I-FABP (573.4 vs. 358.2 pg/mL, p = 0.002) were observed in European compared with African women. A multivariable linear regression analysis, adjusted for smoking and HCV coinfection confirmed the association between sCD14 levels and women provenance (p = 0.03).
Our observations indicate significant differences in soluble markers among women of different provenance. In the design and analysis of studies evaluating MT markers, population-specific reference values should be considered.

Copyright (c) 2020 Silvia Baroncelli, Clementina Maria Galluzzo, Atim Molinari, Maria Franca Pirillo, Albertina Cavalli, Elisa Negri, Marco Floridia, Anna Degli Antoni.