Dental and medical researchers from Case Western Reserve University discovered that byproducts of bacteria in gum disease, called metabolic small chain fatty acid (SCFA), can work together to wake up HIV in dormant T-cells and cause the virus to replicate.
Their findings help explain why people with the HIV -infections and periodontal disease have higher levels of the virus in their saliva than HIV patients with healthy gums. For dental patients with HIV, it shows how important it is to treat bacterial infections in gum disease early.
“This interaction by SCFA and T-cells surprised co-investigators Fengchun Ye, assistant professor of biological sciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, and Jonathan Karn, director of the Center for Aids Research and professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Case Western Reserve’s medical school,” said Science Daily.
Their findings can be found in the article, “Short chain fatty acids potently induce latent HIV-1 in T-cells by activating P-TEFb and multiple histone modifications,” published in January 2015 in the journal Virology.