• 16S rRNA gene sequencing of mock microbial populations- impact of DNA extraction method, primer choice and sequencing platform

      Fouhy, Fiona; Clooney, Adam G; STANTON, CATHERINE; Claesson, Marcus J.; Cotter, Paul D.; European Union; Science Foundation Ireland; 603038; SFI/12/RC/2273; SFI/11/PI/1137 (Biomed Central, 24/06/2016)
      Background Next-generation sequencing platforms have revolutionised our ability to investigate the microbiota composition of complex environments, frequently through 16S rRNA gene sequencing of the bacterial component of the community. Numerous factors, including DNA extraction method, primer sequences and sequencing platform employed, can affect the accuracy of the results achieved. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of these three factors on 16S rRNA gene sequencing results, using mock communities and mock community DNA. Results The use of different primer sequences (V4-V5, V1-V2 and V1-V2 degenerate primers) resulted in differences in the genera and species detected. The V4-V5 primers gave the most comparable results across platforms. The three Ion PGM primer sets detected more of the 20 mock community species than the equivalent MiSeq primer sets. Data generated from DNA extracted using the 2 extraction methods were very similar. Conclusions Microbiota compositional data differed depending on the primers and sequencing platform that were used. The results demonstrate the risks in comparing data generated using different sequencing approaches and highlight the merits of choosing a standardised approach for sequencing in situations where a comparison across multiple sequencing runs is required.
    • The altered gut microbiota in adults with cystic fibrosis

      Burke, D.G.; Fouhy, Fiona; Harrison, M. J; Rea, Mary; Cotter, Paul D.; O'Sullivan, Orla; STANTON, CATHERINE; Hill, Cian J; Shanahan, Fergus; Plant, Barry J.; et al. (Biomed Central, 09/03/2017)
      Background Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease that affects the function of a number of organs, principally the lungs, but also the gastrointestinal tract. The manifestations of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as frequent antibiotic exposure, undoubtedly disrupts the gut microbiota. To analyse the effects of CF and its management on the microbiome, we compared the gut microbiota of 43 individuals with CF during a period of stability, to that of 69 non-CF controls using 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The impact of clinical parameters, including antibiotic therapy, on the results was also assessed. Results The CF-associated microbiome had reduced microbial diversity, an increase in Firmicutes and a reduction in Bacteroidetes compared to the non-CF controls. While the greatest number of differences in taxonomic abundances of the intestinal microbiota was observed between individuals with CF and the healthy controls, gut microbiota differences were also reported between people with CF when grouped by clinical parameters including % predicted FEV1 (measure of lung dysfunction) and the number of intravenous (IV) antibiotic courses in the previous 12 months. Notably, CF individuals presenting with severe lung dysfunction (% predicted FEV1 ≤ 40%) had significantly (p < 0.05) reduced gut microbiota diversity relative to those presenting with mild or moderate dysfunction. A significant negative correlation (−0.383, Simpson’s Diversity Index) was also observed between the number of IV antibiotic courses and gut microbiota diversity. Conclusions This is one of the largest single-centre studies on gut microbiota in stable adults with CF and demonstrates the significantly altered gut microbiota, including reduced microbial diversity seen in CF patients compared to healthy controls. The data show the impact that CF and it's management have on gut microbiota, presenting the opportunity to develop CF specific probiotics to minimise microbiota alterations.
    • The altered gut microbiota in adults with cystic fibrosis

      Burke, D.G.; Fouhy, Fiona; Harrison, M. J; Rea, Mary; Cotter, Paul D.; O'Sullivan, Orla; STANTON, CATHERINE; Hill, Cian J; Shanahan, Fergus; Plant, Barry J.; et al. (Biomed Central, 09/03/2017)
      Background Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disease that affects the function of a number of organs, principally the lungs, but also the gastrointestinal tract. The manifestations of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as frequent antibiotic exposure, undoubtedly disrupts the gut microbiota. To analyse the effects of CF and its management on the microbiome, we compared the gut microbiota of 43 individuals with CF during a period of stability, to that of 69 non-CF controls using 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The impact of clinical parameters, including antibiotic therapy, on the results was also assessed. Results The CF-associated microbiome had reduced microbial diversity, an increase in Firmicutes and a reduction in Bacteroidetes compared to the non-CF controls. While the greatest number of differences in taxonomic abundances of the intestinal microbiota was observed between individuals with CF and the healthy controls, gut microbiota differences were also reported between people with CF when grouped by clinical parameters including % predicted FEV1 (measure of lung dysfunction) and the number of intravenous (IV) antibiotic courses in the previous 12 months. Notably, CF individuals presenting with severe lung dysfunction (% predicted FEV1 ≤ 40%) had significantly (p < 0.05) reduced gut microbiota diversity relative to those presenting with mild or moderate dysfunction. A significant negative correlation (−0.383, Simpson’s Diversity Index) was also observed between the number of IV antibiotic courses and gut microbiota diversity. Conclusions This is one of the largest single-centre studies on gut microbiota in stable adults with CF and demonstrates the significantly altered gut microbiota, including reduced microbial diversity seen in CF patients compared to healthy controls. The data show the impact that CF and it's management have on gut microbiota, presenting the opportunity to develop CF specific probiotics to minimise microbiota alterations.
    • Composition of the early intestinal microbiota: Knowledge, knowledge gaps and the use of high-throughput sequencing to address these gaps

      Fouhy, Fiona; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; STANTON, CATHERINE; Cotter, Paul D.; Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; 11/PI/1137 (Landes Bioscience, 01/05/2012)
      The colonization, development and maturation of the newborn gastrointestinal tract that begins immediately at birth and continues for two years, is modulated by numerous factors including mode of delivery, feeding regime, maternal diet/weight, probiotic and prebiotic use and antibiotic exposure pre-, peri- and post-natally. While in the past, culture-based approaches were used to assess the impact of these factors on the gut microbiota, these have now largely been replaced by culture-independent DNA-based approaches and most recently, high-throughput sequencing-based forms thereof. The aim of this review is to summarize recent research into the modulatory factors that impact on the acquisition and development of the infant gut microbiota, to outline the knowledge recently gained through the use of culture-independent techniques and, in particular, highlight advances in high-throughput sequencing and how these technologies have, and will continue to, fill gaps in our knowledge with respect to the human intestinal microbiota.
    • A degenerate PCR-based strategy as a means of identifying homologues of aminoglycoside and ß-lactam resistance genes in the gut microbiota

      Fouhy, Fiona; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; STANTON, CATHERINE; Cotter, Paul D.; Irish Research Council; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; 11/PI/1137 (Biomed Central, 05/02/2014)
      Background: The potential for the human gut microbiota to serve as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance genes has been the subject of recent discussion. However, this has yet to be investigated using a rapid PCR-based approach. In light of this, here we aim to determine if degenerate PCR primers can detect aminoglycoside and β-lactam resistance genes in the gut microbiota of healthy adults, without the need for an initial culture-based screen for resistant isolates. In doing so, we would determine if the gut microbiota of healthy adults, lacking recent antibiotic exposure, is a reservoir for resistance genes. Results: The strategy employed resulted in the identification of numerous aminoglycoside (acetylation, adenylation and phosphorylation) and β-lactam (including bla OXA, bla TEM, bla SHV and bla CTX-M) resistance gene homologues. On the basis of homology, it would appear that these genes originated from different bacterial taxa, with members of the Enterobacteriaceae being a particularly rich source. The results demonstrate that, even in the absence of recent antibiotic exposure, the human gut microbiota is a considerable reservoir for antibiotic resistance genes. Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that the gut can be a significant source of aminoglycoside and β-lactam resistance genes, even in the absence of recent antibiotic exposure. The results also demonstrate that PCR-based approaches can be successfully applied to detect antibiotic resistance genes in the human gut microbiota, without the need to isolate resistant strains. This approach could also be used to rapidly screen other complex environments for target genes.
    • Dietary alpha-lactalbumin alters energy balance, gut microbiota composition and intestinal nutrient transporter expression in high-fat diet fed mice

      Boscaini, Serena; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; Speakman, John R.; Cotter, Paul D.; Cryan, John F.; Nilaweera, Kanishka; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; BBSRC; Teagasc; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2019-03-05)
      Recently there has been a considerable rise in the frequency of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, due to changes in lifestyle and resultant imbalances between energy intake and expenditure. Whey proteins are considered as potentially important components of a dietary solution to the obesity problem. However, the roles of individual whey proteins in energy balance remain poorly understood. This study investigated the effects of a high fat diet (HFD) containing alphalactalbumin (LAB), a specific whey protein, or the non-whey protein casein (CAS), on energy balance, nutrient transporters expression, and enteric microbial populations. C57BL/6J mice (n = 8) were given a HFD containing either 20% CAS or LAB as protein sources or a low-fat diet (LFD) containing CAS for 10 weeks. HFD-LAB fed mice showed a significant increase in cumulative energy intake (P=0.043), without differences in body weight, energy expenditure, locomotor activity, respiratory exchange ratio or subcutaneous and epididymal adipose tissue weight. HFD-LAB intake led to a decrease in the expression of glucose transporter glut2 in the ileum (P=0.05)and in the fatty acid transporter cd36 (P<0.001) in both ileum and jejunum. This suggests a reduction of absorption efficiency within the small intestine in the HFD-LAB group. DNA from faecal samples was used for 16S rRNA-based assessment of intestinal microbiota populations; the genera Lactobacillus, Parabacteroides and Bifidobacterium were present in significantly higher proportions in the HFD-LAB group. These data indicate a possible functional relationship between gut microbiota, intestinal nutrient transporters and energy balance, with no impact on weight gain.
    • The Effect of Dietary Supplementation with Spent Cider Yeast on the Swine Distal Gut Microbiome

      Upadrasta, Aditya; O'Sulivan, Lisa; O'Sullivan, Orla; Sexton, Noel; Lawlor, Peadar G; Hill, Colin; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; STANTON, CATHERINE; Ross, R Paul; Enterprise Ireland; et al. (PLOS, 09/10/2013)
      Background: There is an increasing need for alternatives to antibiotics for promoting animal health, given the increasing problems associated with antibiotic resistance. In this regard, we evaluated spent cider yeast as a potential probiotic for modifying the gut microbiota in weanling pigs using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene libraries. Methodology and Principal Findings: Piglets aged 24–26 days were assigned to one of two study groups; control (n = 12) and treatment (n = 12). The control animals were fed with a basal diet and the treatment animals were fed with basal diet in combination with cider yeast supplement (500 ml cider yeast containing ,7.6 log CFU/ml) for 21 days. Faecal samples were collected for 16s rRNA gene compositional analysis. 16S rRNA compositional sequencing analysis of the faecal samples collected from day 0 and day 21 revealed marked differences in microbial diversity at both the phylum and genus levels between the control and treatment groups. This analysis confirmed that levels of Salmonella and Escherichia were significantly decreased in the treatment group, compared with the control (P,0.001). This data suggest a positive influence of dietary supplementation with live cider yeast on the microbial diversity of the pig distal gut. Conclusions/Significance: The effect of dietary cider yeast on porcine gut microbial communities was characterized for the first time using 16S rRNA gene compositional sequencing. Dietary cider yeast can potentially alter the gut microbiota, however such changes depend on their endogenous microbiota that causes a divergence in relative response to that given diet.
    • Erratum to: Evolution of gut microbiota composition from birth to 24 weeks in the INFANTMET Cohort

      Hill, Cian J; Lynch, Denise B; Murphy, Kiera; Ulaszewska, Marynka; Jeffery, Ian B; O'Shea, Carol A; Watkins, Claire; Dempsey, Eugene; Mattivi, Fulvio; Tuohy, Kieran; et al. (Biomed Central, 14/02/2017)
      Erratum Following publication of this article [1], it has come to our attention that the name of the author Kieran Tuohy’s name was captured incorrectly as “Touhy” and instead should be Kieran Tuohy.
    • Evolution of gut microbiota composition from birth to 24 weeks in the INFANTMET Cohort

      Hill, Cian J; Lynch, Denise B; Murphy, Kiera; Ulaszewska, Marynka; Jeffery, Ian B; O'Shea, Carol A; Watkins, Claire; Dempsey, Eugene; Mattivi, Fulvio; Tuohy, Kieran; et al. (Biomed Central, 17/01/2017)
      Background The gut is the most extensively studied niche of the human microbiome. The aim of this study was to characterise the initial gut microbiota development of a cohort of breastfed infants (n = 192) from 1 to 24 weeks of age. Methods V4-V5 region 16S rRNA amplicon Illumina sequencing and, in parallel, bacteriological culture. The metabolomic profile of infant urine at 4 weeks of age was also examined by LC-MS. Results Full-term (FT), spontaneous vaginally delivered (SVD) infants’ microbiota remained stable at both phylum and genus levels during the 24-week period examined. FT Caesarean section (CS) infants displayed an increased faecal abundance of Firmicutes (p < 0.01) and lower abundance of Actinobacteria (p < 0.001) after the first week of life compared to FT-SVD infants. FT-CS infants gradually progressed to harbouring a microbiota closely resembling FT-SVD (which remained stable) by week 8 of life, which was maintained at week 24. The gut microbiota of preterm (PT) infants displayed a significantly greater abundance of Proteobacteria compared to FT infants (p < 0.001) at week 1. Metabolomic analysis of urine at week 4 indicated PT-CS infants have a functionally different metabolite profile than FT (both CS and SVD) infants. Co-inertia analysis showed co-variation between the urine metabolome and the faecal microbiota of the infants. Tryptophan and tyrosine metabolic pathways, as well as fatty acid and bile acid metabolism, were found to be affected by delivery mode and gestational age. Conclusions These findings confirm that mode of delivery and gestational age both have significant effects on early neonatal microbiota composition. There is also a significant difference between the metabolite profile of FT and PT infants. Prolonged breastfeeding was shown to have a significant effect on the microbiota composition of FT-CS infants at 24 weeks of age, but interestingly not on that of FT-SVD infants. Twins had more similar microbiota to one another than between two random infants, reflecting the influence of similarities in both host genetics and the environment on the microbiota.
    • Exercise and the microbiota

      O'Sullivan, Orla; Cronin, Owen; Clarke, Siobhan F.; Murphy, Eileen F.; Molloy, Micheal G; Shanahan, Fergus; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 24/03/2015)
      Sedentary lifestyle is linked with poor health, most commonly obesity and associated disorders, the corollary being that exercise offers a preventive strategy. However, the scope of exercise biology extends well beyond energy expenditure and has emerged as a great ‘polypill’, which is safe, reliable and cost-effective not only in disease prevention but also treatment. Biological mechanisms by which exercise influences homeostasis are becoming clearer and involve multi-organ systemic adaptations. Most of the elements of a modern lifestyle influence the indigenous microbiota but few studies have explored the effect of increased physical activity. While dietary responses to exercise obscure the influence of exercise alone on gut microbiota, professional athletes operating at the extremes of performance provide informative data. We assessed the relationship between extreme levels of exercise, associated dietary habits and gut microbiota composition, and discuss potential mechanisms by which exercise may exert a direct or indirect influence on gut microbiota.
    • Food for thought: The role of nutrition in the microbiota-gut–brain axis

      Oriach, Clara Seira; Robertson, Ruairi C.; STANTON, CATHERINE; Cryan, John F.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board of Ireland; Sea Change Strategy, NutraMara programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-01-21)
      Recent research has provided strong evidence for the role of the commensal gut microbiota in brain function and behaviour. Many potential pathways are involved in this bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and the brain such as immune mechanisms, the vagus nerve and microbial neurometabolite production. Dysbiosis of gut microbial function has been associated with behavioural and neurophysical deficits, therefore research focused on developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat psychiatric disorders by targeting the gut microbiota is rapidly growing. Numerous factors can influence the gut microbiota composition such as health status, mode of birth delivery and genetics, but diet is considered among the most crucial factors impacting on the human gut microbiota from infancy to old age. Thus, dietary interventions may have the potential to modulate psychiatric symptoms associated with gut–brain axis dysfunction. Further clinical and in vivo studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying the link between nutrition, gut microbiota and control of behaviour and mental health.
    • Food for thought: The role of nutrition in the microbiota-gut–brain axis

      Oriach, Clara Seira; Robertson, Ruairi C; STANTON, CATHERINE; Cryan, John F.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board of Ireland; Sea Change Strategy NutraMara programme; SMART FOOD project; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-01-21)
      Recent research has provided strong evidence for the role of the commensal gut microbiota in brain function and behaviour. Many potential pathways are involved in this bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and the brain such as immune mechanisms, the vagus nerve and microbial neurometabolite production. Dysbiosis of gut microbial function has been associated with behavioural and neurophysical deficits, therefore research focused on developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat psychiatric disorders by targeting the gut microbiota is rapidly growing. Numerous factors can influence the gut microbiota composition such as health status, mode of birth delivery and genetics, but diet is considered among the most crucial factors impacting on the human gut microbiota from infancy to old age. Thus, dietary interventions may have the potential to modulate psychiatric symptoms associated with gut–brain axis dysfunction. Further clinical and in vivo studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying the link between nutrition, gut microbiota and control of behaviour and mental health.
    • High-Throughput Sequencing Reveals the Incomplete, Short-Term Recovery of Infant Gut Microbiota following Parenteral Antibiotic Treatment with Ampicillin and Gentamicin

      Fouhy, Fiona; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Hussey, Seamus; Wall, Rebecca; Ryan, C. Anthony; Dempsey, Eugene; Murphy, Brendan; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; STANTON, CATHERINE; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 04/09/2012)
      The infant gut microbiota undergoes dramatic changes during the first 2 years of life. The acquisition and development of this population can be influenced by numerous factors, and antibiotic treatment has been suggested as one of the most significant. Despite this, however, there have been relatively few studies which have investigated the short-term recovery of the infant gut microbiota following antibiotic treatment. The aim of this study was to use high-throughput sequencing (employing both 16S rRNA and rpoB-specific primers) and quantitative PCR to compare the gut microbiota of nine infants who underwent parenteral antibiotic treatment with ampicillin and gentamicin (within 48 h of birth), 4 and 8 weeks after the conclusion of treatment, relative to that of nine matched healthy controls. The investigation revealed that the gut microbiota of the antibiotic-treated infants had significantly higher proportions of Proteobacteria (P = 0.0049) and significantly lower proportions of Actinobacteria (P = 0.00001) (and the associated genus Bifidobacterium [P = 0.0132]) as well as the genus Lactobacillus (P = 0.0182) than the untreated controls 4 weeks after the cessation of treatment. By week 8, the Proteobacteria levels remained significantly higher in the treated infants (P = 0.0049), but the Actinobacteria, Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus levels had recovered and were similar to those in the control samples. Despite this recovery of total Bifidobacterium numbers, rpoB-targeted pyrosequencing revealed that the number of different Bifidobacterium species present in the antibiotic-treated infants was reduced. It is thus apparent that the combined use of ampicillin and gentamicin in early life can have significant effects on the evolution of the infant gut microbiota, the long-term health implications of which remain unknown.
    • In silico identification of bacteriocin gene clusters in the gastrointestinal tract, based on the Human Microbiome Project’s reference genome database

      Walsh, Calum J.; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; O'Toole, Paul W.; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/11/PI/1137 (Biomed Central, 16/09/2015)
      Background The human gut microbiota comprises approximately 100 trillion microbial cells which significantly impact many aspects of human physiology - including metabolism, nutrient absorption and immune function. Disturbances in this population have been implicated in many conditions and diseases, including obesity, type-2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. This suggests that targeted manipulation or shaping of the gut microbiota, by bacteriocins and other antimicrobials, has potential as a therapeutic tool for the prevention or treatment of these conditions. With this in mind, several studies have used traditional culture-dependent approaches to successfully identify bacteriocin-producers from the mammalian gut. In silico-based approaches to identify novel gene clusters are now also being utilised to take advantage of the vast amount of data currently being generated by next generation sequencing technologies. In this study, we employed an in silico screening approach to mine potential bacteriocin clusters in genome-sequenced isolates from the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). More specifically, the bacteriocin genome-mining tool BAGEL3 was used to identify potential bacteriocin producers in the genomes of the GIT subset of the Human Microbiome Project’s reference genome database. Each of the identified gene clusters were manually annotated and potential bacteriocin-associated genes were evaluated. Results We identified 74 clusters of note from 59 unique members of the Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Fusobacteria and Synergistetes. The most commonly identified class of bacteriocin was the >10 kDa class, formerly known as bacteriolysins, followed by lantibiotics and sactipeptides. Conclusions Multiple bacteriocin gene clusters were identified in a dataset representative of the human gut microbiota. Interestingly, many of these were associated with species and genera which are not typically associated with bacteriocin production.
    • Lotus seed oligosaccharides at various dosages with prebiotic activity regulate gut microbiota and relieve constipation in mice.

      Su, Han; Chen, Jinghao; Miao, Song; Deng, Kaibo; Liu, Jiawen; Zeng, Shaoxiao; Zheng, Baodong; Lu, Xu; China-Ireland International Cooperation Centre; National Natural Science Foundation of China; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-09-27)
      The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of lotus seed oligosaccharides (formulation consisting of LSO2, LSO3-1, LSO3-2 and LSO4; relative ratios are 1.107:0.554: 0.183:0.443, m/m/m/m) at dosages of 0.42, 0.83 g/d/kg bw and 2.49 g/d/kg bw on the microbiota composition and the propulsion of intestinal contents in the gut of mice. The results showed that fecal water content increased in treated mice; there was less gut microbiota diversity than in other groups; and there was a large number of fauna in the cecum of the mice. At the same time, the number of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) bacterial producers increased after feeding with oligosaccharides; Lotus seed oligosaccharides (LOS) also enhanced the concentration of SCFAs in the intestine, which also increased the concentration of cytokines in the serum of mice. In conclusion, these findings suggest that LOS or combination with resistant starch has a better effect on relieving constipation.
    • Microbiota-related Changes in Bile Acid & Tryptophan Metabolism are Associated with Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Autism

      Golubeva, Anna V.; Joyce, Susan A.; Moloney, Gerard; Burokas, Aurelijus; Sherwin, Eoin; Arboleya, Silvia; Flynn, Ian; Khochanskiy, Dmitry; Moya-Pérez, Angela; Peterson, Veronica; et al. (Elsevier, 2017-09-21)
      Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental conditions worldwide. There is growing awareness that ASD is highly comorbid with gastrointestinal distress and altered intestinal microbiome, and that host-microbiome interactions may contribute to the disease symptoms. However, the paucity of knowledge on gut-brain axis signaling in autism constitutes an obstacle to the development of precision microbiota-based therapeutics in ASD. To this end, we explored the interactions between intestinal microbiota, gut physiology and social behavior in a BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J mouse model of ASD. Here we show that a reduction in the relative abundance of very particular bacterial taxa in the BTBR gut – namely, bile-metabolizing Bifidobacterium and Blautia species, - is associated with deficient bile acid and tryptophan metabolism in the intestine, marked gastrointestinal dysfunction, as well as impaired social interactions in BTBR mice. Together these data support the concept of targeted manipulation of the gut microbiota for reversing gastrointestinal and behavioral symptomatology in ASD, and offer specific plausible targets in this endeavor.
    • A pilot study demonstrating the altered gut microbiota functionality in stable adults with Cystic Fibrosis

      Fouhy, Fiona; Ronan, N. J.; O'Sullivan, Orla; McCarthy, Y.; Walsh, Aaron M.; Murphy, D.M.; Daly, M.; Flanagan, E. T.; Fleming, C.; McCarthy, M.; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-07-27)
      Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and its treatment result in an altered gut microbiota composition compared to non-CF controls. However, the impact of this on gut microbiota functionality has not been extensively characterised. Our aim was to conduct a proof-of-principle study to investigate if measurable changes in gut microbiota functionality occur in adult CF patients compared to controls. Metagenomic DNA was extracted from faecal samples from six CF patients and six non-CF controls and shotgun metagenomic sequencing was performed on the MiSeq platform. Metabolomic analysis using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was conducted on faecal water. The gut microbiota of the CF group was significantly different compared to the non-CF controls, with significantly increased Firmicutes and decreased Bacteroidetes. Functionality was altered, with higher pathway abundances and gene families involved in lipid (e.g. PWY 6284 unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis (p = 0.016)) and xenobiotic metabolism (e.g. PWY-5430 meta-cleavage pathway of aromatic compounds (p = 0.004)) in CF patients compared to the controls. Significant differences in metabolites occurred between the two groups. This proof-of-principle study demonstrates that measurable changes in gut microbiota functionality occur in CF patients compared to controls. Larger studies are thus needed to interrogate this further.
    • Targeting the Microbiota to Address Diet-Induced Obesity: A Time Dependent Challenge

      Clarke, Siobhan F.; Murphy, Eileen F.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Ross, R Paul; O'Toole, Paul W.; Shanahan, Fergus; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; Alimentary Health Ltd (PLOS, 07/06/2013)
      Links between the gut microbiota and host metabolism have provided new perspectives on obesity. We previously showed that the link between the microbiota and fat deposition is age- and time-dependent subject to microbial adaptation to diet over time. We also demonstrated reduced weight gain in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice through manipulation of the gut microbiota with vancomycin or with the bacteriocin-producing probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118 (Bac+), with metabolic improvement achieved in DIO mice in receipt of vancomycin. However, two phases of weight gain were observed with effects most marked early in the intervention phase. Here, we compare the gut microbial populations at the early relative to the late stages of intervention using a high throughput sequencing-based analysis to understand the temporal relationship between the gut microbiota and obesity. This reveals several differences in microbiota composition over the intervening period. Vancomycin dramatically altered the gut microbiota composition, relative to controls, at the early stages of intervention after which time some recovery was evident. It was also revealed that Bac+ treatment initially resulted in the presence of significantly higher proportions of Peptococcaceae and significantly lower proportions of Rikenellaceae and Porphyromonadaceae relative to the gut microbiota of L. salivarius UCC118 bacteriocin negative (Bac-) administered controls. These differences were no longer evident at the later time. The results highlight the resilience of the gut microbiota and suggest that interventions may need to be monitored and continually adjusted to ensure sustained modification of the gut microbiota.
    • Whey protein effects on energy balance link the intestinal mechanisms of energy absorption with adiposity and hypothalamic neuropeptide gene expression

      Nilaweera, Kanishka; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; Speakman, John R.; O'Connor, Paula M.; McAuliffe, Ann Marie; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Lawton, Elaine M.; Crispie, Fiona; Aguillera, Monica; Stanley, Maurice; et al. (American Physiological Society, 19/06/2017)
      We tested the hypothesis that dietary whey protein isolate (WPI) affects the intestinal mechanisms related to energy absorption and that the resulting energy deficit is compensated by changes in energy balance to support growth. C57BL/6 mice were provided a diet enriched with WPI with varied sucrose content, and the impact on energy balance-related parameters was investigated. As part of a high-sucrose diet, WPI reduced the hypothalamic expression of pro-opiomelanocortin gene expression and increased energy intake. The energy expenditure was unaffected, but epididymal weight was reduced, indicating an energy loss. Notably, there was a reduction in the ileum gene expression for amino acid transporter SLC6a19, glucose transporter 2, and fatty acid transporter 4. The composition of the gut microbiota also changed, where Firmicutes were reduced. The above changes indicated reduced energy absorption through the intestine. We propose that this mobilized energy in the adipose tissue and caused hypothalamic changes that increased energy intake, acting to counteract the energy deficit arising in the intestine. Lowering the sucrose content in the WPI diet increased energy expenditure. This further reduced epididymal weight and plasma leptin, whereupon hypothalamic ghrelin gene expression and the intestinal weight were both increased. These data suggest that when the intestine-adipose-hypothalamic pathway is subjected to an additional energy loss (now in the adipose tissue), compensatory changes attempt to assimilate more energy. Notably, WPI and sucrose content interact to enable the component mechanisms of this pathway.
    • WS16.1 Clinical Outcomes of Real-World Kalydeco (CORK) study – Investigating the impact of CFTR potentiation on the intestinal microbiota, exocrine pancreatic function and intestinal inflammation prospectively over 12 months

      Deane, Jennifer; Ronan, N. J.; O'Callaghan, G. P.; Fouhy, Fiona; Rea, Mary; O'Sullivan, Orla; Hill, C. J.; Shanahan, F.; Ross, R Paul; McCarthy, M.; et al. (Elsevier, 2015-06-05)
      Objectives Ivacaftor is effective in the treatment of patients with CF and the G551D gating mutation. We present faecal analysis results of the CORK cohort, a single-centre, adult (n = 20), prospective, longitudinal study of G551D clinical responders (median follow-up 12 months), examining the gut microbiota, exocrine pancreatic function and intestinal inflammation on a 3 monthly basis after commencing treatment.