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Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 64; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040064

Markers of Microbial Translocation and Immune Activation Predict Cognitive Processing Speed in Heavy-Drinking Men Living with HIV

1
Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI 02912, USA
2
The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA
4
Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125, USA
5
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32603, USA
6
COBRE Center for Cancer Research, Rhode Island and Miriam Hospitals, Lifespan Health System, Providence, RI 02903, USA
7
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiome Gut Brain Axis)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [233 KB, uploaded 21 September 2017]

Abstract

HIV infection and alcohol use disorder are associated with deficits in neurocognitive function. Emerging evidence points to pro-inflammatory perturbations of the gut-brain axis as potentially contributing to neurocognitive impairment in the context of HIV and chronic heavy alcohol use. This study examined whether plasma markers of microbial translocation (LPS) from the gastrointestinal tract and related immune activation (sCD14, EndoCAb) were associated with neurocognition in 21 men living with HIV who were virally suppressed on antiretroviral therapy. All participants met federal criteria for heavy drinking and were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a brief alcohol intervention. This secondary analysis utilized blood samples and cognitive scores (learning, memory, executive function, verbal fluency, and processing speed) obtained at baseline and three-month follow-up of the RCT. In generalized estimating equation models, LPS, sCD14, and EndoCAb individually were significant predictors of processing speed. In a model with all biomarkers, higher LPS and sCD14 both remained significant predictors of lower processing speed. These preliminary findings suggest that inflammation stemming from HIV and/or alcohol could have negative effects on the gut-brain axis, manifested as diminished processing speed. Associations of microbial translocation and immune activation with processing speed in heavy-drinking PLWH warrant further investigation in larger-scale studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: gut-brain axis; HIV infection; alcohol use disorder; heavy drinking; inflammation; microbial translocation; monocyte activation; cognition; processing speed gut-brain axis; HIV infection; alcohol use disorder; heavy drinking; inflammation; microbial translocation; monocyte activation; cognition; processing speed
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Monnig, M.A.; Kahler, C.W.; Cioe, P.A.; Monti, P.M.; Mayer, K.H.; Pantalone, D.W.; Cohen, R.A.; Ramratnam, B. Markers of Microbial Translocation and Immune Activation Predict Cognitive Processing Speed in Heavy-Drinking Men Living with HIV. Microorganisms 2017, 5, 64.

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