Intestinal Damage and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-Exposed and HIV-Infected Zimbabwean Infants

Andrew J. Prendergast, Bernard Chasekwa, Sandra Rukobo, Margaret Govha, Kuda Mutasa, Robert Ntozini, Jean H. Humphrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background. Disease progression is rapid in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected infants. Whether intestinal damage and inflammation underlie mortality is unknown. Methods. We measured plasma intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP), soluble CD14 (sCD14), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and C-reactive protein (CRP) at 6 weeks and 6 months of age in 272 HIV-infected infants who either died (cases) or survived (controls), and in 194 HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) and 197 HIV-unexposed infants. We estimated multivariable odds ratios for mortality and postnatal HIV transmission for each biomarker using logistic regression. Results. At 6 weeks, HIV-infected infants had higher sCD14 and IL-6 but lower I-FABP than HIV-exposed and HIV-unexposed infants (P < .001). CRP was higher in HIV-exposed than HIV-unexposed infants (P = .02). At 6 months, HIV-infected infants had highest sCD14, IL-6, and CRP concentrations (P < .001) and marginally higher I-FABP than other groups (P = .07). CRP remained higher in HIV-exposed vs HIV-unexposed infants (P = .04). No biomarker was associated with mortality in HIV-infected infants, or with odds of breast-milk HIV transmission in HIV-exposed infants. Conclusions. HIV-infected infants have elevated inflammatory markers by 6 weeks of age, which increase over time. In contrast to adults and older children, inflammatory biomarkers were not associated with mortality. HEU infants have higher inflammation than HIV-unexposed infants until at least 6 months, which may contribute to poor health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-661
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2017


  • Africa
  • HIV
  • infant
  • inflammation
  • intestinal
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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