Lactobacillus-Deficient Cervicovaginal Bacterial Communities Are Associated with Increased HIV Acquisition in Young South African Women

Christina Gosmann, Melis N. Anahtar, Scott A. Handley, Mara Farcasanu, Galeb Abu-Ali, Brittany A. Bowman, Nikita Padavattan, Chandni Desai, Lindsay Droit, Amber Moodley, Mary Dong, Yuezhou Chen, Nasreen Ismail, Thumbi Ndung'u, Musie S. Ghebremichael, Duane R. Wesemann, Caroline Mitchell, Krista L. Dong, Curtis Huttenhower, Bruce D. WalkerHerbert W. Virgin, Douglas S. Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

158 Scopus citations

Abstract

Elevated inflammation in the female genital tract is associated with increased HIV risk. Cervicovaginal bacteria modulate genital inflammation; however, their role in HIV susceptibility has not been elucidated. In a prospective cohort of young, healthy South African women, we found that individuals with diverse genital bacterial communities dominated by anaerobes other than Gardnerella were at over 4-fold higher risk of acquiring HIV and had increased numbers of activated mucosal CD4+ T cells compared to those with Lactobacillus crispatus-dominant communities. We identified specific bacterial taxa linked with reduced (L. crispatus) or elevated (Prevotella, Sneathia, and other anaerobes) inflammation and HIV infection and found that high-risk bacteria increased numbers of activated genital CD4+ T cells in a murine model. Our results suggest that highly prevalent genital bacteria increase HIV risk by inducing mucosal HIV target cells. These findings might be leveraged to reduce HIV acquisition in women living in sub-Saharan Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalImmunity
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 17 2017

Keywords

  • HIV acquisition
  • HIV susceptibility
  • female genital tract (FGT)
  • mucosal immunology
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • vaginal microbiome

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    Gosmann, C., Anahtar, M. N., Handley, S. A., Farcasanu, M., Abu-Ali, G., Bowman, B. A., Padavattan, N., Desai, C., Droit, L., Moodley, A., Dong, M., Chen, Y., Ismail, N., Ndung'u, T., Ghebremichael, M. S., Wesemann, D. R., Mitchell, C., Dong, K. L., Huttenhower, C., ... Kwon, D. S. (2017). Lactobacillus-Deficient Cervicovaginal Bacterial Communities Are Associated with Increased HIV Acquisition in Young South African Women. Immunity, 46(1), 29-37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2016.12.013