During HIV infection, massive destruction of CD4+ T cells ensues, preferentially depleting
the Th17 subset at the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), leading to a loss of mucosal integrity
and an increase in cell permeability. This process favors microbial translocation between the
intestinal lumen and the circulatory system, contributing to persistent immune activation and
chronic inflammation characteristic of HIV infection. Thus, the gut microbiota plays an integral role
in maintaining the structure and function of the mucosal barrier, a critical factor for immune homeostasis.
However, in the context of HIV infection, changes in the gut microbiota have been reported
and have been linked to disease progression. Here, we review evidence for the role of the gut microbiota
in intestinal homeostasis, its contribution to HIV pathogenesis, as well as its use in the development
of therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: Microbiota, microbial translocation, dysbiosis, HIV/AIDS pathogenesis, mucosal immunology, Th17/Treg axis.
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