Influence of Hepatitis C Virus Sustained Virological Response on Immunosuppressive Tryptophan Catabolism in ART-Treated HIV/HCV Coinfected Patients

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Background:We previously reported an association between tryptophan (Trp) catabolism and immune dysfunction in HIV monoinfection. Coinfection with HIV is associated with more rapid evolution of hepatitis C virus (HCV)–associated liver disease despite antiretroviral therapy (ART), possibly due to immune dysregulation. We hypothesized that liver fibrosis in HIV/HCV coinfection would be associated with immune dysfunction and alterations in Trp metabolism.Methods:Trp catabolism and inflammatory soluble markers were assessed in plasma samples from ART-treated HIV/HCV-coinfected patients (n = 90) compared with ART-treated HIV-monoinfected patients and noninfected subjects. Furthermore, 17 additional coinfected patients with sustained virological response (SVR) were assessed longitudinally 6 months after completion of interferon-α/ribavirin treatment.Results:HIV/HCV patients had higher Trp catabolism compared with HIV-monoinfected and healthy individuals. Elevated kynurenine levels in HIV/HCV patients with liver fibrosis correlated with the prognostic aspartate aminotransaminase to platelet ratio (APRI scores) and insulin levels. Furthermore, HIV/HCV patients had elevated levels of disease progression markers interleukin-6 and induced protein 10 and shared similar levels of markers of microbial translocation (intestinal fatty acid-binding protein, soluble CD14 and lipopolysaccharide-binding protein) compared with HIV-monoinfected and healthy individuals. Successful HCV treatment improved APRI score and markers of disease progression and microbial translocation although elevated Trp catabolism remained unchanged 6 months after SVR.Conclusion:ART-treated HIV/HCV-coinfected patients had elevated immunosuppressive Trp catabolism when compared with monoinfected HIV-treated patients, which did not normalize after SVR. These findings suggest that a necroinflammatory liver syndrome persists through inflammation by Trp catabolism after 6 month of SVR.

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