Stabilization of the murine gut microbiome following weaning

Published Research

Ecologists hypothesize that community structure and stability affect productivity, sensitivity to invasion and extinction, and resilience and resistance to perturbations. Viewed in the context of the gut microbiome, the stability of the gut community is important for understanding the effects of antibiotics, diet change and other perturbations on host health and colonization resistance. here we describe the dynamics of a self-contained community, the murine gut microbiome.
Using 16s rRNA gene sequencing of fecal samples collected daily from individual mice, we characterized the community membership and structure to determine whether there were significant changes in the gut community during the first year of life. Based on analysis of molecular variance, we observed two community states. The first was observed in the 10 days following weaning and the second was observed by 15 days following weaning. Interestingly, these two states had the same bacterial populations, but those populations had different relative abundances in the two states. By calculating the root mean squared distances between samples collected in the early and late states for each mouse, we observed that the late state was more stable than the early state. This increase in stability was not correlated with increased taxonomic richness, taxonomic diversity, or phylogenetic diversity. In the absence of an experimentally induced perturbation, the second community state was relatively constant through 364 days post weaning. These results suggest a high degree of stability in the microbiome once the community reached the second state.

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Metagenomic analyses of alcohol induced pathogenic alterations in the intestinal microbiome and the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG treatment

Published Research

Enteric dysbiosis plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease (ALD). Detailed characterization of the alterations in the gut microbiome is needed for understanding their pathogenic role in ALD and developing effective therapeutic approaches using probiotic supplementation. Mice were fed liquid Lieber-DeCarli diet without or with alcohol (5% v/v) for 6 weeks. A subset of mice were administered the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) from 6 to 8 weeks. Indicators of intestinal permeability, hepatic steatosis, inflammation and injury were evaluated. Metagenomic analysis of the gut microbiome was performed by analyzing the fecal DNA by amplification of the V3–V5 regions of the 16S rRNA gene and large-scale parallel pyrosequencing on the 454 FLX Titanium platform. Chronic ethanol feeding caused a decline in the abundance of both Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes phyla, with a proportional increase in the gram negative Proteobacteria and gram positive Actinobacteria phyla; the bacterial genera that showed the biggest expansion were the gram negative alkaline tolerant Alcaligenes and gram positive Corynebacterium. Commensurate with the qualitative and quantitative alterations in the microbiome, ethanol caused an increase in plasma endotoxin, fecal pH, hepatic inflammation and injury. Notably, the ethanol-induced pathogenic changes in the microbiome and the liver were prevented by LGG supplementation. Overall, significant alterations in the gut microbiome over time occur in response to chronic alcohol exposure and correspond to increases in intestinal barrier dysfunction and development of ALD. Moreover, the altered bacterial communities of the gut may serve as significant therapeutic target for the prevention/treatment of chronic alcohol intake induced intestinal barrier dysfunction and liver disease

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Changes in cystic fibrosis airway microbiota at pulmonary exacerbation

Published Research

In persons with cystic fibrosis (CF), repeated exacerbations of pulmonary symptoms are associated with a progressive decline in lung function. Changes in the airway microbiota around the time of exacerbations are not well understood. The magnitude of changes in the CF lung microbiota around the time of exacerbation was found to be largely dependent on community diversity and composition at baseline. Certain genera appear to play important roles in driving change in airway bacterial community composition at exacerbation. Gemella might play a direct role in and/or be a biomarker for pulmonary exacerbation.

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