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Serum Bovine Immunoglobulins Improve Inflammation and Gut Barrier Function in Persons with HIV and Enteropathy on Suppressive ART



Systemic inflammation persists in chronic HIV infection and is associated with increased rates of non-AIDS events such as cardiovascular and liver disease. Increased gut permeability and systemic exposure to microbial products are key drivers of this inflammation. Serum-derived bovine immunoglobulin/protein isolate (SBI) supports gut healing in other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.


In this randomized, double-blind study, participants receiving suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) with chronic diarrhea received placebo or SBI at 2.5 g BID or 5 g BID for 4 weeks, followed by a 20-week placebo-free extension phase with SBI at either 2.5 or 5 g BID. Intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP), zonulin, flagellin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and LPS-binding protein, and inflammatory markers were measured by ELISA or multiplex assays. Non-parametric tests were used for analysis.


One hundred three participants completed the study. By week 24 SBI significantly decreased circulating levels of I-FABP (-0.35 ng/μL, P=0.002) and zonulin (-4.90 ng/μL, P=0.003), suggesting improvement in gut damage, and interleukin-6 (IL-6) (-0.40 pg/μL, P=0.002), reflecting improvement in systemic inflammation. In participants with the lowest quartile of CD4+ T-cell counts at baseline (189-418 cells/μL), CD4+ T-cell counts increased significantly (26 cells/μL; P=0.002).


Oral SBI may decrease inflammation and warrants further exploration as a potential strategy to improve gut integrity and decrease systemic inflammation among persons receiving prolonged suppressive ART.

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