A wide variety of infections, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa occur in the immunocompromised
condition associated with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome (AIDS). Although these opportunistic infections are believed to arise as an effect of the immunodeficiency,
these microbes sometimes promote the disease progression of HIV-1 infection by enhancing viral replication or
modulating host immune responses. Here we review the experimental and clinical evidence supporting such causal
relationships associated with periodontogenic bacteria. Periodontal disease, caused by subgingival infection with oral
anaerobic bacteria, typically Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) belonging to the phylum Bacteroidetes, is found
worldwide and is one of the most prevalent microbial diseases of mankind. Emerging evidence implicates the involvement
of P. gingivalis infection in the progression of HIV-1 infection. We demonstrate that P. gingivalis can induce HIV-1
reactivation via chromatin modification, and that the bacterial metabolite butyric acid produced in anaerobic conditions is
responsible for this effect. These findings suggest that periodontal diseases could act as a risk factor for HIV-1
reactivation in infected individuals and might contribute to AIDS progression. Furthermore, it would imply that
prevention and early treatment of periodontitis involving P. gingivalis infection could effectively block further clinical
progression of AIDS.
Keywords: Periodontal diseases, Porphyromonas gingivalis, HIV, AIDS, butyric acid, HDAC, latency.
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