Author(s): Novati S
The lumen of the gastrointestinal tract is home to an enormous quantity of different bacterial species that thrive in an often symbiotic relationship with the host. It is the principal source of microbial products because of its massive bacterial load. Injury to the immune component of the gastrointestinal mucosal surface, along with damage to the intestinal epithelial microenvironment with its antimicrobial functions, may affect systemic immune activation during the chronic phase of HIV infection through the increased translocation of luminal microbial products. Moreover, microbial translocation, which is defined as "the passage of both viable and nonviable microbes and microbial products such as endotoxin across anatomically intact intestinal barrier", may be a fundamental mechanism through which HIV accelerates progression of chronic viral hepatitis. Improvements in the tools available to microbiota research, and especially advancement of our knowledge in this area may help us in controlling the evolution of HIV disease, although population complexity and diversity between individuals make this challenging.