HIV viral infection leads to a lot of problems, especially disruptions in the digestive tract that results in an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria which is called dysbiosis.
This results in many different effects. There are changes in tryptophan metabolism. There is long term immune activation. It also results in translocation of microbes.
The central nervous system is affected but we don't understand it very well.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is not made by the body. We get it from out diets. There is an enzyme called IDO (indolamine-2,3-dioxygenase) that breaks it down into substances the cause damage to the central nervous system. It leads to problems with cognition and adds to depleting of important CD4 T cells.
Carolina Scagnolari led a team of researchers in Italy. They suspected a link between high levels of immune activation markers in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of HIV-1 infected patients and the over-expression of the enzyme IDO at the gut mucosal surface.
They started a small study that consisted of ten HIV-1-positive patients who had been successfully treated with antiretroviral drugs.
All the patients in the study received Visbiome, a multistrain probiotic powder supplement that they took two times per day for a period of six months.
The probiotic powder formula included high concentrations of strains of lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and streptococcus.
They used Neopterin levels in CSF as a measure of the expression of brain immune activation.
After 6 months of taking Visbiome, the high concentration multistrain probiotic supplementation they showed a significant decrease in CSF neopterin levels that were recorded in all HIV-1-positive patients.
Significant reductions of IDO mRNA expression in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) was recorded in all HIV-1-positive patients
This pilot study appeared in International Probiotics on January 16th 2017
See Original Abstract here.