Microbiota play a key role in various body functions, as well as in physiological, metabolic, and immunological processes, through different mechanisms such as the regulation of the development and/or functions of different types of immune cells in the intestines. Evidence indicates that alteration in the gut microbiota can influence infectious and non-infectious diseases. Bacteria that reside on the mucosal surface or within the mucus layer interact with the host immune system, thus, a healthy gut microbiota is essential for the development of mucosal immunity. In patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), including those who control their disease with antiretroviral drugs (ART), the gut microbiome is very different than the microbiome of those not infected with HIV. Recent data suggests that, for these patients, dysbiosis may lead to a breakdown in the gut’s immunologic activity, causing systemic bacteria diffusion and inflammation. Since in HIV-infected patients in this state, including those in ART therapy, the treatment of gastrointestinal tract disorders is frustrating, many studies are in progress to investigate the ability of probiotics to modulate epithelial barrier functions, microbiota composition, and microbial translocation. This mini-review analyzed the use of probiotics to prevent and attenuate several gastrointestinal manifestations and to improve gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) immunity in HIV infection.
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