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Introduction: Altered gastrointestinal (GI) barrier integrity and subsequent microbial translocation may contribute to immune activation in HIV infection. We have reported that rosuvastatin improved several markers of immune activation in HIV+ participants, but the effect of statin treatment on markers of GI barrier dysfunction is unknown.
Methods: SATURN-HIV is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial assessing the effect of rosuvastatin (10mg/daily) on markers of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and immune activation in ART-treated patients. Gut-barrier integrity was assessed by the surrogate markers intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP), a marker of enterocyte death, and zonulin-1, a marker of gut epithelial cell function. Levels of lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP) were measured as a marker of microbial translocation.
Results: Rosuvastatin significantly reduced levels of I-FABP during the treatment period compared to the placebo. There was no effect of rosuvastatin treatment on levels of zonulin or LBP. Baseline levels of LBP were directly related to several markers of immune activation in samples from all participants, including soluble CD163, IP-10, VCAM-1, TNFR-II, and the proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells expressing CD38 and HLA-DR. Many of these relationships, however, were not seen in the statin arm alone at baseline or over time, as inflammatory markers often decreased and LBP levels were unchanged.
Conclusions: Forty-eight weeks of rosuvastatin treatment reduced levels of I-FABP, but did not affect levels of zonulin or LBP. The reduction in levels of inflammatory markers that we have reported with rosuvastatin treatment is likely mediated through other mechanisms not related to gut integrity or microbial translocation.SATURN-HIV is registered on clinicaltrials.gov; Identifier: NCT01218802
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