• Cholestasis induced by bile duct ligation promotes changes in the intestinal microbiome in mice.

      Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; Patterson, Angela M; Cotter, Paul D.; Beraza, Naiara; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; BB/J004529/1; BBS/E/F/00044509; BB/R012490/1; BBS/E/F/000PR10355; BB/CCG1860/1 (Nature, 2019-08-23)
      Increasing evidence point to the relevance of intestinal disfunction and changes in the microbiome composition during chronic liver disease. More specifically, recent studies have highlighted that cholestatic diseases associate with a reduction in the microbiome diversity in patients. Still, the dynamics of the changes in the microbiome composition observed, as well as their implication in contributing to the pathogenesis of this disease remain largely undefined. Hence, experimental mouse models resembling the human pathogenesis are crucial to move forward our understanding on the mechanisms underpinning cholestatic disease and to enable the development of effective therapeutics. Our results show that the bile duct ligation (BDL) experimental model of cholestasis leads to rapid and significant changes in the microbiome diversity, with more than 100 OTUs being significantly different in faecal samples obtained from WT mice at 3 days and 7 days after BDL when compared to control animals. Changes in the microbial composition in mice after BDL included the enrichment of Akkermansia, Prevotella, Bacteroides and unclassified Ruminococcaceae in parallel with a drastic reduction of the presence of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. In conclusion, our results support that bile duct ligation induces changes in the microbiome that partly resemble the gut microbial changes observed during human cholestatic disease.
    • 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 Fungal Frontier: A Comparative Analysis of Methods Used in the Study of the Human Gut Mycobiome

      Huseyin, Chloe E.; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; O'Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; Scanlan, Pauline D. (Frontiers, 31/07/2017)
      The human gut is host to a diverse range of fungal species, collectively referred to as the gut “mycobiome”. The gut mycobiome is emerging as an area of considerable research interest due to the potential roles of these fungi in human health and disease. However, there is no consensus as to what the best or most suitable methodologies available are with respect to characterizing the human gut mycobiome. The aim of this study is to provide a comparative analysis of several previously published mycobiome-specific culture-dependent and -independent methodologies, including choice of culture media, incubation conditions (aerobic versus anaerobic), DNA extraction method, primer set and freezing of fecal samples to assess their relative merits and suitability for gut mycobiome analysis. There was no significant effect of media type or aeration on culture-dependent results. However, freezing was found to have a significant effect on fungal viability, with significantly lower fungal numbers recovered from frozen samples. DNA extraction method had a significant effect on DNA yield and quality. However, freezing and extraction method did not have any impact on either α or β diversity. There was also considerable variation in the ability of different fungal-specific primer sets to generate PCR products for subsequent sequence analysis. Through this investigation two DNA extraction methods and one primer set was identified which facilitated the analysis of the mycobiome for all samples in this study. Ultimately, a diverse range of fungal species were recovered using both approaches, with Candida and Saccharomyces identified as the most common fungal species recovered using culture-dependent and culture-independent methods, respectively. As has been apparent from ecological surveys of the bacterial fraction of the gut microbiota, the use of different methodologies can also impact on our understanding of gut mycobiome composition and therefore requires careful consideration. Future research into the gut mycobiome needs to adopt a common strategy to minimize potentially confounding effects of methodological choice and to facilitate comparative analysis of datasets.
    • Oral Delivery of Nisin in Resistant Starch Based Matrices Alters the Gut Microbiota in Mice

      Gough, Ronan; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; O'Connor, Paula M.; Crispie, Fiona; Miao, Song; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Nilaweera, Kanishka; Rea, Mary; et al. (Frontiers, 15/06/2018)
      There is a growing recognition of the role the gastrointestinal microbiota plays in health and disease. Ingested antimicrobial proteins and peptides have the potential to alter the gastrointestinal microbiota; particularly if protected from digestion. Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide that is used as a food preservative. This study examined the ability of nisin to affect the murine microbiota when fed to mice in two different starch based matrices; a starch dough comprising raw starch granules and a starch gel comprising starch that was gelatinized and retrograded. The effects of the two starch matrices by themselves on the microbiota were also examined. Following 16S rRNA compositional sequencing, beta diversity analysis highlighted a significant difference (p = 0.001, n = 10) in the murine microbiota between the four diet groups. The differences between the two nisin containing diets were mainly attributable to differences in the nisin release from the starch matrices while the differences between the carriers were mainly attributable to the type of resistant starch they possessed. Indeed, the differences in the relative abundance of several genera in the mice consuming the starch dough and starch gel diets, in particular Akkermansia, the relative abundance of which was 0.5 and 11.9%, respectively (p = 0.0002, n = 10), points to the potential value of resistance starch as a modulator of beneficial gut microbes. Intact nisin and nisin digestion products (in particular nisin fragment 22–31) were detected in the feces and the nisin was biologically active. However, despite a three-fold greater consumption of nisin in the group fed the nisin in starch dough diet, twice as much nisin was detected in the feces of the group which consumed the nisin in starch gel diet. In addition, the relative abundance of three times as many genera from the lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) were significantly different (p < 0.001, n = 10) to the control for the group fed the nisin in starch gel diet, implying that the starch gel afforded a degree of protection from digestion to the nisin entrapped within it.
    • Oral Delivery of Nisin in Resistant Starch Based Matrices Alters the Gut Microbiota in Mice

      Gough, Ronan; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; O'Connor, Paula M.; Crispie, Fiona; Brodkorb, Andre; Miao, Song; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Nilaweera, Kanishka; et al. (Frontiers, 2018-06-15)
      There is a growing recognition of the role the gastrointestinal microbiota plays in health and disease. Ingested antimicrobial proteins and peptides have the potential to alter the gastrointestinal microbiota; particularly if protected from digestion. Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide that is used as a food preservative. This study examined the ability of nisin to affect the murine microbiota when fed to mice in two different starch based matrices; a starch dough comprising raw starch granules and a starch gel comprising starch that was gelatinized and retrograded. The effects of the two starch matrices by themselves on the microbiota were also examined. Following 16S rRNA compositional sequencing, beta diversity analysis highlighted a significant difference (p = 0.001, n = 10) in the murine microbiota between the four diet groups. The differences between the two nisin containing diets were mainly attributable to differences in the nisin release from the starch matrices while the differences between the carriers were mainly attributable to the type of resistant starch they possessed. Indeed, the differences in the relative abundance of several genera in the mice consuming the starch dough and starch gel diets, in particular Akkermansia, the relative abundance of which was 0.5 and 11.9%, respectively (p = 0.0002, n = 10), points to the potential value of resistance starch as a modulator of beneficial gut microbes. Intact nisin and nisin digestion products (in particular nisin fragment 22–31) were detected in the feces and the nisin was biologically active. However, despite a three-fold greater consumption of nisin in the group fed the nisin in starch dough diet, twice as much nisin was detected in the feces of the group which consumed the nisin in starch gel diet. In addition, the relative abundance of three times as many genera from the lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) were significantly different (p < 0.001, n = 10) to the control for the group fed the nisin in starch gel diet, implying that the starch gel afforded a degree of protection from digestion to the nisin entrapped within it.
    • 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, 21/03/2017)
      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.
    • 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.