Microbiome and Ageing


Our body has millions of microbes, referred to generally as our microbiome or microbiota. These microbes account for approximately 1.5 kg of our body weight. Most are beneficial and contribute to functions as important as digesting nutrients, synthesizing vitamins and essential amino acids and regulating the immune system and metabolism.

Strengthening the immune response

Most of these bacteria are located in the intestine, along with 90% of CD4 T-cells, the immune system cells that attack HIV. This coexistence means that the intestinal microbiome can help develop the immune system associated with the intestine.

IrsiCaixa is investigating how we can act on the microbiome to help people living with HIV recover immunity and to strengthen the immune response of a therapeutic or preventive vaccine.

Studies of the microbiome can reinforce the functional cure or eradication strategy.

Ageing with improved quality of life

Research into the microbiome and HIV can be extended to other fields such as ageing. When HIV enters the body, in a matter of weeks it damages the gut immune system, in charge of controlling the balance between good and bad bacteria. This imbalance can cause inflammation, hardening of the arteries, osteoporosis and other conditions associated with ageing.

AIDS is thus a model for accelerated ageing — and research into HIV is research into strategies for ageing with an improved quality of life.


ageing, bacteria, eradication, functional cure, immune system, infectious diseases, inflammation, intestine, massive sequencing, microbiome

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Irsi Caixa

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'La Caixa' Foundation Generalitat de Catalunya - Departament de Salut


HR Excellence in Research

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