Gut Microbiome, Short-Chain Fatty Acids, and Mucosa Injury in Young Adults with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

  • Yong Qing
  • Hangyu Xie
  • Chen Su
  • Youwei Wang
  • Qiuyue Yu
  • Qiuyu Pang
  • Fan CuiEmail author
Original Article



HIV progression is characterized by immune activation and microbial translocation from the gut. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are essential for gut homeostasis. Decreased intestinal SCFAs play a role in rapid HIV progression.


To compare the SCFA profile, intestinal microbiome, and intestinal mucosal injury between patients with HIV (but not AIDS) and healthy controls.


This was a prospective study of 15 patients without AIDS and 10 controls conducted between July 2016 and January 2017 at the Institute of Dermatology and Venereology (Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences). Stool specimens were collected to analyze the microbiome and SCFAs. Blood I-FABP and d-lactate (gut injury markers) were measured as well as T cells in HIV-positive patients. Intestinal mucosa was observed by colonoscopy.


Rikenellaceae, Microbacteriaceae, Roseburia, Lachnospiraceae, Alistipes, and Ruminococcaceae were decreased, while Moraxellaceae and Psychrobacter were increased in HIV-positive patients. Butyric acid (p = 0.04) and valeric acid (p = 0.03) were reduced in HIV-positive patients. Colonoscopy revealed no visible damage in all subjects. There were no differences in I-FABP and d-lactate between groups. Butyric and valeric acids mainly positively correlated with Rikenellaceae, Ruminococcaceae, Alistipes, Roseburia, and Lachnospiraceae. CD8+ cells were positively correlated with Proteobacteria. CD4+ cells, and CD4/CD8 were negatively correlated with acetic acid. CD8+ cells were positively correlated with valeric acid.


The differences in the distribution of intestinal flora between HIV-infected and healthy individuals, especially some SCFAs, suggest that there is already a predisposition to intestinal mucosa damage in HIV-infected individuals.


Intestinal microflora Short-chain fatty acids Intestinal injury HIV infection 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81101231) and the Basic Scientific Research Projects of Sichuan Provincial Scientific Research Institutes (no. 2017YSKY0001). The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and interpretation, or decision to submit the work for publication.

Author's contribution

YQ and HX carried out the experiments, participated in collecting data, and drafted the manuscript. CS and YW performed the statistical analysis and participated in its design. QY and QP helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81101231) and Basic Scientific Research Projects of Sichuan Provincial Scientific Research Institutes (no. 2017YSKY0001). The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and interpretation, or decision to submit the work for publication.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

The study was approved by the ethics committee of the Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital. All subjects provided written informed consent.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong Qing
    • 2
  • Hangyu Xie
    • 3
  • Chen Su
    • 4
  • Youwei Wang
    • 1
  • Qiuyue Yu
    • 1
  • Qiuyu Pang
    • 1
  • Fan Cui
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Dermatology, Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences and Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, School of MedicineUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology of ChinaChengduChina
  2. 2.Department of Anorectal SurgeryIntercontinental Hospital of Proctology and GastroenterologyChengduChina
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyChina Aviation Industry 363 HospitalChengduChina
  4. 4.Sichuan Academy of Chinese Medicine ScienceChengduChina

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