Tomato concentrate may decrease chronic inflammation associated with HIV, study finds

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A specific type of tomato concentrate may reduce intestinal inflammation associated with HIV, according to new research conducted on mice.

The research, conducted by University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences, was published in PLOS Pathogens. Researchers used preclinical models of chronic treated HIV to determine whether the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory apoA-l mimetic peptides 6F and 4F decrease systemic and gut inflammation in chronic HIV. 

Working with mice that had been infected with HIV and whose immune systems had been altered to mimic humans, researchers fed the mice the tomato concentrate Tg6F, while the rest were fed a normal diet, according to the study. Tg6F comes from a specific type of genetically modified tomato containing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant peptides called apoA-I mimetic peptides, which imitate the main protein in HDL.

Researchers evaluated cytokines and chemokines, proteins that are known to predict intestinal and blood inflammation, which can cause issues in people living with chronic HIV infection.

The study concluded that the mice given Tg6F had lower levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in their gut and blood than the mice that received the standard diet. Researchers also discovered that Tg6F prevented an increase in levels of ADAM17, a protein which creates inflammatory responses in people with chronic HIV infection.

Researchers noted that mice cannot fully recreate all aspects of humans’ HIV infection and the gut biopsies used to test the effects of apoA-I mimetics do not fully reflect how inflammation works within a living human body.

Integrative practitioners who treat patients living with HIV should take note of this study and the potential benefits of using Tg6F to reduce inflammation.