icon-folder.gif   Conference Reports for NATAP  
  9th International
Workshop on HIV and Aging
13 and 14 September 2018
New York City, NY
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HIV and the "Geri-ome":
Linking Gut Dysbiosis to Inflammation

  Cara C. Wilson, M.D.
Professor of Medicine and Immunology
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine
University of Colorado at Denver
Reported by Jules Levin
9th HIV and Aging Workshop 2018 Sept 13-24, NYC











What is LPS
LPS (short for lipopolysaccharide) is a major component of the outer membrane of some bacteria. LPS is a switch for inflammation in the gut and beyond.
LPS (lipopolysaccharide) Drives Inflammation
Made of fats (lipids) and sugar, this compound is both structural and protective to normally benign bacteria. However, when released into the bloodstream, LPS is a potent endotoxin (coming from within) and drives a sudden and acute inflammatory reaction. LPS has long been used in research to induce inflammatory responses in mammals in order to study them. Many conditions are induced in the laboratory by using LPS, such as Alzheimer's, MS, IBD, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's, depression, autism and many other autoimmune diseases.
It is also known that many people with these conditions carry elevated LPS markers. LPS should not be in the bloodstream at all. However, it has been found that if the lining of the intestine is leaky - that is, the normally tight junctions are compromised - LPS can get into the bloodstream and cause serious damage.
This indicates that leaky gut not only creates inflammation through the food allergy mechanism, but also allows the potent and damaging molecule called LPS into the blood.
A Major Breakthrough in Research
Importantly, elevated LPS in the blood is indicative of not only systemic inflammation, but intestinal permeability as well.
Previously, researchers for brain disorders, for instance, have looked to the brain for answers. Now they have evidence that the intestine is the place to look as the root cause of many disorders and diseases.
For instance, this study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation showed that injections of LPS into the abdomen of mice stimulated inflammation in the brain, memory loss and increased beta-amyloid in the brain (implicated in Alzheimer's disease). LPS is normally found in the gut because it is part of the bacterial membranes. But it should not be in the bloodstream where it can create extraordinary destruction.
Additionally, in this study published in PLoS One found that the Parkinson's patients has much greater intestinal permeability than controls and that this was correlated with increased LPS in the blood. Additionally, they found that intestinal permeability is an early marker of Parkinson's disease and that further research may target early diagnosis and therapeutics.
A New Organ called the Microbiome
The most exciting research involves the newly identified organ we have called the microbiome. It's actually mind boggling on how much research is going on involving this. Universities are scrambling to get studies underway because this research has so much potential to get to the actual cause of so many debilitating diseases.