Complex interactions among diet, gastrointestinal transit, and gut microbiota in humanized mice.
ABSTRACT: Diet has major effects on the intestinal microbiota, but the exact mechanisms that alter complex microbial communities have been difficult to elucidate. In addition to the direct influence that diet exerts on microbes, changes in microbiota composition and function can alter host functions such as gastrointestinal (GI) transit time, which in turn can further affect the microbiota.We investigated the relationships among diet, GI motility, and the intestinal microbiota using mice that are germ-free (GF) or humanized (ex-GF mice colonized with human fecal microbiota).Analysis of gut motility revealed that humanized mice fed a standard polysaccharide-rich diet had faster GI transit and increased colonic contractility compared with GF mice. Humanized mice with faster transit due to administration of polyethylene glycol or a nonfermentable cellulose-based diet had similar changes in gut microbiota composition, indicating that diet can modify GI transit, which then affects the composition of the microbial community. However, altered transit in mice fed a diet of fermentable fructooligosaccharide indicates that diet can change gut microbial function, which can affect GI transit.Based on studies in humanized mice, diet can affect GI transit through microbiota-dependent or microbiota-independent pathways, depending on the type of dietary change. The effect of the microbiota on transit largely depends on the amount and type (fermentable vs nonfermentable) of polysaccharides present in the diet. These results have implications for disorders that affect GI transit and gut microbial communities, including irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Project description:Chronic diseases arise when pathophysiological processes achieve a steady state by self-reinforcing. Here, we explored the possibility of a self-reinforcement state in a common condition, chronic constipation, where alterations of the gut microbiota have been reported. The functional impact of the microbiota shifts on host physiology remains unclear, however we hypothesized that microbial communities adapted to slow gastrointestinal transit affect host functions in a way that reinforces altered transit, thereby maintaining the advantage for microbial self-selection. To test this, we examined the impact of pharmacologically (loperamide)-induced constipation (PIC) on the structural and functional profile of altered gut microbiota. PIC promoted changes in the gut microbiome, characterized by decreased representation of butyrate-producing Clostridiales, decreased cecal butyrate concentration and altered metabolic profiles of gut microbiota. PIC-associated gut microbiota also impacted colonic gene expression, suggesting this might be a basis for decreased gastrointestinal (GI) motor function. Introduction of PIC-associated cecal microbiota into germ-free (GF) mice significantly decreased GI transit time. Our findings therefore support the concept that chronic diseases like constipation are caused by disease-associated steady states, in this case, caused by reciprocating reinforcement of pathophysiological factors in host-microbe interactions. We used microarrays to detail the global gene expression profile in the proximal colon smooth muscle tissues of germ-free, conventionalized, or specific pathogen free mouse C57Bl/6 female and male specific pathogen free (SPF) mice were bred and housed in the animal care facility at the University of Chicago. Mice of 8–10 weeks of age were treated with 0.1% loperamide in the drinking water for 7 days. Age matched, germ-free (GF) C57Bl/6 mice were gavaged orally with cecal luminal contents harvested from control or loperamide-treated C57Bl/6 donor mice. Recipient mice were sacrificed 4 weeks post-colonization.
Project description:Gut microbiota alterations have been described in several diseases with altered gastrointestinal (GI) motility, and awareness is increasing regarding the role of the gut microbiome in modulating GI function. Serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] is a key regulator of GI motility and secretion. To determine the relationship among gut microbes, colonic contractility, and host serotonergic gene expression, we evaluated mice that were germ-free (GF) or humanized (HM; ex-GF colonized with human gut microbiota). 5-HT reduced contractile duration in both GF and HM colons. Microbiota from HM and conventionally raised (CR) mice significantly increased colonic mRNAs Tph1 [(tryptophan hydroxylase) 1, rate limiting for mucosal 5-HT synthesis; P < 0.01] and chromogranin A (neuroendocrine secretion; P < 0.01), with no effect on monoamine oxidase A (serotonin catabolism), serotonin receptor 5-HT4, or mouse serotonin transporter. HM and CR mice also had increased colonic Tph1 protein (P < 0.05) and 5-HT concentrations (GF, 17 ± 3 ng/mg; HM, 25 ± 2 ng/mg; and CR, 35 ± 3 ng/mg; P < 0.05). Enterochromaffin (EC) cell numbers (cells producing 5-HT) were unchanged. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) promoted TPH1 transcription in BON cells (human EC cell model). Thus, gut microbiota acting through SCFAs are important determinants of enteric 5-HT production and homeostasis.
Project description:Tryptamine, a tryptophan-derived monoamine similar to 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is produced by gut bacteria and is abundant in human and rodent feces. However, the physiologic effect of tryptamine in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract remains unknown. Here, we show that the biological effects of tryptamine are mediated through the 5-HT4 receptor (5-HT4R), a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) uniquely expressed in the colonic epithelium. Tryptamine increases both ionic flux across the colonic epithelium and fluid secretion in colonoids from germ-free (GF) and humanized (ex-GF colonized with human stool) mice, consistent with increased intestinal secretion. The secretory effect of tryptamine is dependent on 5-HT4R activation and is blocked by 5-HT4R antagonist and absent in 5-HT4R-/- mice. GF mice colonized by Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron engineered to produce tryptamine exhibit accelerated GI transit. Our study demonstrates an aspect of host physiology under control of a bacterial metabolite that can be exploited as a therapeutic modality. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Project description:Homeostasis of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is controlled by complex interactions between epithelial and immune cells and the resident microbiota. Here, we studied the role of Wnt signaling in GI homeostasis using Disheveled 1 knockout (Dvl1-/-) mice, which display an increase in whole gut transit time. This phenotype is associated with a reduction and mislocalization of Paneth cells and an increase in CD8+ T cells in the lamina propria. Bone marrow chimera experiments demonstrated that GI dysfunction requires abnormalities in both epithelial and immune cells. Dvl1-/- mice exhibit a significantly distinct GI microbiota, and manipulation of the gut microbiota in mutant mice rescued the GI transit abnormality without correcting the Paneth and CD8+ T cell abnormalities. Moreover, manipulation of the gut microbiota in wild-type mice induced a GI transit abnormality akin to that seen in Dvl1-/- mice. Together, these data indicate that microbiota manipulation can overcome host dysfunction to correct GI transit abnormalities. Our findings illustrate a mechanism by which the epithelium and immune system coregulate gut microbiota composition to promote normal GI function.
Project description:Studies in mice indicate that the gut microbiota promotes energy harvest and storage from components of the diet when these components are plentiful. Here we examine how the microbiota shapes host metabolic and physiologic adaptations to periods of nutrient deprivation. Germ-free (GF) mice and mice who had received a gut microbiota transplant from conventionally raised donors were compared in the fed and fasted states by using functional genomic, biochemical, and physiologic assays. A 24-h fast produces a marked change in gut microbial ecology. Short-chain fatty acids generated from microbial fermentation of available glycans are maintained at higher levels compared with GF controls. During fasting, a microbiota-dependent, Ppar alpha-regulated increase in hepatic ketogenesis occurs, and myocardial metabolism is directed to ketone body utilization. Analyses of heart rate, hydraulic work, and output, mitochondrial morphology, number, and respiration, plus ketone body, fatty acid, and glucose oxidation in isolated perfused working hearts from GF and colonized animals (combined with in vivo assessments of myocardial physiology) revealed that the fasted GF heart is able to sustain its performance by increasing glucose utilization, but heart weight, measured echocardiographically or as wet mass and normalized to tibial length or lean body weight, is significantly reduced in both fasted and fed mice. This myocardial-mass phenotype is completely reversed in GF mice by consumption of a ketogenic diet. Together, these results illustrate benefits provided by the gut microbiota during periods of nutrient deprivation, and emphasize the importance of further exploring the relationship between gut microbes and cardiovascular health.
Project description:Rifaximin has clinical benefits in minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) but the mechanism of action is unclear. The antibiotic-dependent and -independent effects of rifaximin need to be elucidated in the setting of MHE-associated microbiota. To assess the action of rifaximin on intestinal barrier, inflammatory milieu and ammonia generation independent of microbiota using rifaximin.Four germ-free (GF) mice groups were used (1) GF, (2) GF+rifaximin, (3) Humanized with stools from an MHE patient, and (4) Humanized+rifaximin. Mice were followed for 30 days while rifaximin was administered in chow at 100?mg/kg from days 16-30. We tested for ammonia generation (small-intestinal glutaminase, serum ammonia, and cecal glutamine/amino-acid moieties), systemic inflammation (serum IL-1?, IL-6), intestinal barrier (FITC-dextran, large-/small-intestinal expression of IL-1?, IL-6, MCP-1, e-cadherin and zonulin) along with microbiota composition (colonic and fecal multi-tagged sequencing) and function (endotoxemia, fecal bile acid deconjugation and de-hydroxylation).All mice survived until day 30. In the GF setting, rifaximin decreased intestinal ammonia generation (lower serum ammonia, increased small-intestinal glutaminase, and cecal glutamine content) without changing inflammation or intestinal barrier function. Humanized microbiota increased systemic/intestinal inflammation and endotoxemia without hyperammonemia. Rifaximin therapy significantly ameliorated these inflammatory cytokines. Rifaximin also favorably impacted microbiota function (reduced endotoxin and decreased deconjugation and formation of potentially toxic secondary bile acids), but not microbial composition in humanized mice.Rifaximin beneficially alters intestinal ammonia generation by regulating intestinal glutaminase expression independent of gut microbiota. MHE-associated fecal colonization results in intestinal and systemic inflammation in GF mice, which is also ameliorated with rifaximin.
Project description:Diet and nutritional status are among the most important modifiable determinants of human health. The nutritional value of food is influenced in part by a person's gut microbial community (microbiota) and its component genes (microbiome). Unraveling the interrelations among diet, the structure and operations of the gut microbiota, and nutrient and energy harvest is confounded by variations in human environmental exposures, microbial ecology, and genotype. To help overcome these problems, we created a well-defined, representative animal model of the human gut ecosystem by transplanting fresh or frozen adult human fecal microbial communities into germ-free C57BL/6J mice. Culture-independent metagenomic analysis of the temporal, spatial, and intergenerational patterns of bacterial colonization showed that these humanized mice were stably and heritably colonized and reproduced much of the bacterial diversity of the donor's microbiota. Switching from a low-fat, plant polysaccharide-rich diet to a high-fat, high-sugar "Western" diet shifted the structure of the microbiota within a single day, changed the representation of metabolic pathways in the microbiome, and altered microbiome gene expression. Reciprocal transplants involving various combinations of donor and recipient diets revealed that colonization history influences the initial structure of the microbial community but that these effects can be rapidly altered by diet. Humanized mice fed the Western diet have increased adiposity; this trait is transmissible via microbiota transplantation. Humanized gnotobiotic mice will be useful for conducting proof-of-principle "clinical trials" that test the effects of environmental and genetic factors on the gut microbiota and host physiology. Nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences are deposited in GenBank under the accession numbers GQ491120 to GQ493997.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:It is not clear how the complex interactions between diet and the intestinal microbiota affect development of mucosal inflammation or inflammatory bowel disease. We investigated interactions between dietary ingredients, nutrients, and the microbiota in specific pathogen-free (SPF) and germ-free (GF) mice given more than 40 unique diets; we quantified individual and synergistic effects of dietary macronutrients and the microbiota on intestinal health and development of colitis. METHODS:C56BL/6J SPF and GF mice were placed on custom diets containing different concentrations and sources of protein, fat, digestible carbohydrates, and indigestible carbohydrates (fiber). After 1 week, SPF and GF mice were given dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) to induce colitis. Disease severity was determined based on the percent weight change from baseline, and modeled as a function of the concentration of each macronutrient in the diet. In unchallenged mice, we measured intestinal permeability by feeding mice labeled dextran and measuring levels in blood. Feces were collected and microbiota were analyzed by 16S rDNA sequencing. We collected colons from mice and performed transcriptome analyses. RESULTS:Fecal microbiota varied with diet; the concentration of protein and fiber had the strongest effect on colitis development. Among 9 fiber sources tested, psyllium, pectin, and cellulose fiber reduced the severity of colitis in SPF mice, whereas methylcellulose increased severity. Increasing dietary protein increased the density of the fecal microbiota and the severity of colitis in SPF mice, but not in GF mice or mice given antibiotics. Psyllium fiber reduced the severity of colitis through microbiota-dependent and microbiota-independent mechanisms. Combinatorial perturbations to dietary casein protein and psyllium fiber in parallel accounted for most variation in gut microbial density and intestinal permeability in unchallenged mice, as well as the severity of DSS-induced colitis; changes in 1 ingredient could be offset by changes in another. CONCLUSIONS:In an analysis of the effects of different dietary components and the gut microbiota on mice with and without DSS-induced colitis, we found complex mixtures of nutrients affect intestinal permeability, gut microbial density, and development of intestinal inflammation.
Project description:Acute intake of the wheat bran extract Arabinoxylan-Oligosaccharide (AXOS) modulates the gut microbiota, improves stool characteristics and postprandial glycemia in healthy humans. Yet, little is known on how long-term AXOS intake influences gastrointestinal (GI) functioning, gut microbiota, and metabolic health. In this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, we evaluated the effects of AXOS intake on GI function and metabolic health in adults with slow GI transit without constipation. Forty-eight normoglycemic adults were included with whole-gut transit time (WGTT) of >35 h receiving either 15 g/day AXOS or placebo (maltodextrin) for 12-wks. The primary outcome was WGTT, and secondary outcomes included stool parameters, gut permeability, short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), microbiota composition, energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, glucose, insulin, lipids, gut hormones, and adipose tissue (AT) function. WGTT was unchanged, but stool consistency softened after AXOS. 12-wks of AXOS intake significantly changed the microbiota by increasing Bifidobacterium and decreasing microbial alpha-diversity. With a good classification accuracy, overall microbiota composition classified responders with decreased WGTT after AXOS. The incretin hormone Glucagon-like protein 1 was reduced after AXOS compared to placebo. Energy expenditure, plasma metabolites, AT parameters, SCFA, and gut permeability were unchanged. In conclusion, intake of wheat bran extract increases fecal Bifidobacterium and softens stool consistency without major effects on energy metabolism in healthy humans with a slow GI transit. We show that overall gut microbiota classified responders with decreased WGTT after AXOS highlighting that GI transit and change thereof were associated with gut microbiota independent of Bifidobacterium. NCT02491125.
Project description:The gut microbiota is able to modulate host physiology through the production of bioactive metabolites. Our recent studies suggest that changes in gut microbiota composition upon prebiotics supplementation alter tissue levels of PUFA-derived metabolites in mice. However, in vivo evidence that gut microbes produces PUFA-derived metabolites is lacking. This study aimed to decipher the contribution of gut microbes versus that of the host in PUFA-derived metabolite production.To achieve this goal, we compared the proportion of PUFA-derived metabolites and the expression of fatty acid desaturases in germ-free (GF) and conventionalized (CONV) mice fed either a low fat or Western diet. Higher concentrations of PUFA-derived metabolites were found in the colonic contents of conventionalized mice (CONV) mice compared to GF mice. The abundance of these metabolites in host tissues was modulated by dietary treatments but not by microbial status. Although microbial status did significantly influence desaturase expression, no correlations between host enzymes and tissue PUFA-derived metabolite levels were observed.Together, these results highlight the ability of the gut microbiota to produce PUFA-derived metabolites from dietary PUFA. However, microbial production of these metabolites in colonic contents is not necessarily associated with modifications of their concentration in host tissues.