Host Immunity Influences the Composition of Murine Gut Microbiota

Vincent Van averbeke, Matilda Berkell, Mohamed Mysara Ahmed, Juan Pablo Rodriguez-Ruiz, Basil B. Xavier, Fien H.R. De Winter, Bart 's Jongers, Ravi Kumar Jairam, An Hotterbeekx, Herman Goossens, Suzanne E. Cohen, Surbhi Malhotra-Kumar, Samir Kumar-Singh

    Research outputpeer-review


    The influence of gut microbiota on host immunity is widely studied, and its disturbance has been linked to several immune-mediated disorders. Conversely, whether and how inherently disturbed canonical Th1 (pro-inflammatory) and/or Th2 (anti-inflammatory) immune pathways modify the host microbiome is not sufficiently investigated. Here, we characterized the humoral, cellular, and cytokine immunity, and associated alterations in gut microbiota of naïve wild-type mice (C57BL/6 and BALB/c), and mice with deficiencies in Th2 responses (IL-4Rα and IL-33 knockout mice) or in both Th1 and Th2 responses (NOD scid gamma, NSG mice). A global analysis by de novo clustering of 16S rRNA profiles of the gut microbiota independently grouped wild-type immunocompetent (C57BL/6 and BALB/c), Th2-deficient (IL-4Rα-/- and IL-33-/-), and severely immunodeficient (NSG) mice; where wild-type mice, but not Th2 or severely immunodeficient mice, were enriched in gut bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids. These include members of phyla Firmicutes, Verrucomicrobia, and Bacteroidetes such as Lactobacillus spp., Akkermansia muciniphila, and Odoribacter spp. Further comparison of the two naïve wild-type mouse strains showed higher microbial diversity (Shannon), primarily linked to higher richness (Chao1), as well as a distinct difference in microbial composition (weighted UniFrac) in BALB/c mice compared to C57BL/6. T-cell and blood cytokine analyses demonstrated a Th1-polarization in naïve adaptive immunity in C57BL/6 animals compared to BALB/c mice, and an expected Th2 deficient cellular response in IL-4Rα-/- and IL-33-/- mice compared to its genetic background BALB/c strain. Together, these data suggest that alterations in the Th1/Th2 balance or a complete ablation of Th1/Th2 responses can lead to major alterations in gut microbiota composition and function. Given the similarities between the human and mouse immune systems and gut microbiota, our finding that immune status is a strong driver of gut microbiota composition has important consequences for human immunodeficiency studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number828016
    Number of pages15
    JournalFrontiers in Immunology
    StatePublished - 15 Mar 2022

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