Effect of Probiotics (Saccharomyces boulardii) on Microbial Translocation and Inflammation in HIV-Treated Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

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Background:Microbial translocation has been associated with an increase in immune activation and inflammation in HIV infection despite effective highly active antiretroviral therapy. It has been shown that some probiotics have a beneficial effect by reducing intestinal permeability and, consequently, microbial translocation.Objectives:To assess changes in microbial translocation and inflammation after treatment with probiotics (Saccharomyces boulardii) in HIV-1–infected patients with virologic suppression.Methods:A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 44 nonconsecutive HIV-1–infected patients with viral load of <20 copies per milliliter for at least 2 years. Patients were randomized to oral supplementation with probiotics or placebo during 12 weeks. Markers of microbial translocation (lipopolysaccharide-binding protein [LBP] and soluble CD14), inflammation (interleukin 6 [IL-6], tumor necrosis factor alpha, interferon gamma, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein), and immunological and clinical data were determined before and after the intervention and 3 months after treatment discontinuation. Quantitative variables were compared using the Mann–Whitney U test, and categorical variables were compared using the Fisher exact test.Results:After 12 weeks of treatment, differences between the probiotic arm and the placebo arm were observed in LBP values (−0.30 vs +0.70 pg/mL) and IL-6 (−0.60 vs +0.78 pg/mL). These differences were also noted at 3 months after treatment withdrawal. Qualitative analysis was performed, defining a variable as “decreased” or “increased” from baseline LBP. A significant decrease of LBP at 12 weeks of treatment was observed (57.9% patients in the probiotic group vs 6.2% in the placebo group, P = 0.002).Conclusions:Treatment with S. boulardii decreases microbial translocation (LBP) and inflammation parameters (IL-6) in HIV-1–infected patients with long-term virologic suppression.

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