Gut Microbiota, Plasma Metabolomic Profiles, and Carotid Artery Atherosclerosis in HIV Infection

Zheng Wang, Brandilyn A. Peters, Mykhaylo Usyk, Jiaqian Xing, David B. Hanna, Tao Wang, Wendy S. Post, Alan L. Landay, Howard N. Hodis, Kathleen Weber, Audrey French, Elizabeth T. Golub, Jason Lazar, Deborah Gustafson, Seble Kassaye, Bradley Aouizerat, Sabina Haberlen, Carlos Malvestutto, Matthew Budoff, Steven M. WolinskyAnjali Sharma, Kathryn Anastos, Clary B. Clish, Robert C. Kaplan, Robert D. Burk, Qibin Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Alterations in gut microbiota and blood metabolomic profiles have been implicated in HIV infection and cardiovascular disease. However, it remains unclear whether alterations in gut microbiota may contribute to disrupted host blood metabolomic profiles in relation to atherosclerosis, especially in the context of HIV infection. Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional associations between gut microbiota features and carotid artery plaque in 361 women with or at high risk of HIV (67% HIV+), and further integrated plaque-associated microbial features with plasma lipidomic/metabolomic profiles. Furthermore, in 737 women and men, we examined prospective associations of baseline gut bacteria-associated lipidomic and metabolomic profiles with incident carotid artery plaque over 7-year follow-up. Results: We found 2 potentially pathogenic bacteria, Fusobacterium and Proteus, were associated with carotid artery plaque; while the beneficial butyrate producer Odoribacter was inversely associated with plaque. Fusobacterium and Proteus were associated with multiple lipids/metabolites which were clustered into 8 modules in network. A module comprised of 9 lysophosphatidylcholines and lysophosphatidylethanolamines and a module comprised of 9 diglycerides were associated with increased risk of carotid artery plaque (risk ratio [95% CI], 1.34 [1.09-1.64] and 1.24 [1.02-1.51] per SD increment, respectively). Functional analyses identified bacterial enzymes in lipid metabolism associated with these plasma lipids. In particular, phospholipase A1 and A2 are the key enzymes in the reactions producing lysophosphatidylcholines and lysophosphatidylethanolamines. Conclusions: Among individuals with or at high risk of HIV infection, we identified altered gut microbiota and related functional capacities in the lipid metabolism associated with disrupted plasma lipidomic profiles and carotid artery atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1093
Number of pages13
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diglycerides
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Lipidomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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