C-Reactive Protein Levels Increase During HIV-1 Disease Progression in Rakai, Uganda, Despite the Absence of Microbial Translocation

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Introduction:Microbial translocation has been implicated as a contributing factor to the heightened immune activation observed during HIV-1 disease progression. When examined in a longitudinal study of HIV-1 seroconverters in Rakai, Uganda, microbial translocation was not associated with HIV-1 disease progression. However, the role of general immune activation in HIV disease progression in this population was not fully examined.Methods:Longitudinal serum samples of HIV-1 seroconverters in three HIV-1 disease progression groups [long-term nonprogressors (LTNP), standard progressors (SP), and rapid progressors (RP)] from Rakai, Uganda, were tested for levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for immune activation.Results:CRP levels significantly increased in the SP group (P < 0.0001) but not in the RP group or the LTNP group. CRP levels during the first year post-HIV seroconversion in the RP group were significantly higher than those observed in the LTNP group (P < 0.05). For the entire population, CRP levels negatively correlated with lipopolysaccharide levels (P < 0.05) and were not associated with endotoxin antibody levels.Conclusions:This study suggests that in this population, increased immune activation is significantly associated with HIV-1 disease progression but not microbial translocation.

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