Research ArticleHIV

Maternal HIV infection influences the microbiome of HIV-uninfected infants

Science Translational Medicine  27 Jul 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 349, pp. 349ra100
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf5103

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Influencing the infant microbiome

Annually, there are more than 1 million children born to HIV-infected women. Most of these children do not acquire HIV infection, but they experience twice the mortality of children born to HIV-negative women. Bender et al. now report that maternal HIV infection was associated with changes in the microbiome of these HIV-exposed, uninfected infants. Furthermore, they observed that human breast milk oligosaccharides were associated with specific bacterial species in the infant microbiome. The disruption of the HIV-exposed infant’s microbiome may contribute to the increased morbidity and mortality of these infants.

Abstract

More than 1 million HIV-exposed, uninfected infants are born annually to HIV-positive mothers worldwide. This growing population of infants experiences twice the mortality of HIV-unexposed infants. We found that although there were very few differences seen in the microbiomes of mothers with and without HIV infection, maternal HIV infection was associated with changes in the microbiome of HIV-exposed, uninfected infants. Furthermore, we observed that human breast milk oligosaccharides were associated with bacterial species in the infant microbiome. The disruption of the infant’s microbiome associated with maternal HIV infection may contribute to the increased morbidity and mortality of HIV-exposed, uninfected infants.

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