• Chronic intermittent hypoxia disrupts cardiorespiratory homeostasis and gut microbiota composition in adult male guinea-pigs

      Lucking, Eric F.; O'Connor, Karen M.; Strain, Conall R.; Fouhy, Fiona; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F.S.; Burns, David P.; Golubeva, Anna V.; STANTON, CATHERINE; Clarke, Gerard; Cryan, John F.; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-11-13)
      Background: Carotid body (peripheral oxygen sensor) sensitisation is pivotal in the development of chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH)-induced hypertension. We sought to determine if exposure to CIH, modelling human sleep apnoea, adversely affects cardiorespiratory control in guinea-pigs, a species with hypoxia-insensitive carotid bodies. We reasoned that CIH-induced disruption of gut microbiota would evoke cardiorespiratory morbidity. Methods: Adult male guinea-pigs were exposed to CIH (6.5% O2 at nadir, 6 cycles.hour−1) for 8 h.day−1 for 12 consecutive days. Findings: CIH-exposed animals established reduced faecal microbiota species richness, with increased relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and reduced relative abundance of Firmicutes bacteria. Urinary corticosterone and noradrenaline levels were unchanged in CIH-exposed animals, but brainstem noradrenaline concentrations were lower compared with sham. Baseline ventilation was equivalent in CIH-exposed and sham animals; however, respiratory timing variability, sigh frequency and ventilation during hypoxic breathing were all lower in CIH-exposed animals. Baseline arterial blood pressure was unaffected by exposure to CIH, but β-adrenoceptor-dependent tachycardia and blunted bradycardia during phenylephrine-induced pressor responses was evident compared with sham controls. Interpretation: Increased carotid body chemo-afferent signalling appears obligatory for the development of CIH-induced hypertension and elevated chemoreflex control of breathing commonly reported in mammals, with hypoxia-sensitive carotid bodies. However, we reveal that exposure to modest CIH alters gut microbiota richness and composition, brainstem neurochemistry, and autonomic control of heart rate, independent of carotid body sensitisation, suggesting modulation of breathing and autonomic homeostasis via the microbiota-gut-brainstem axis. The findings have relevance to human sleep-disordered breathing.
    • Manipulation of gut microbiota blunts the ventilatory response to hypercapnia in adult rats

      O'Connor, Karen M.; Lucking, Eric F.; Golubeva, Anna V.; Strain, Conall R.; Fouhy, Fiona; Cenit, María C.; Dhaliwal, Pardeep; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F.S.; Burns, David P.; STANTON, CATHERINE; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-03-18)
      Background: It is increasingly evident that perturbations to the diversity and composition of the gut microbiota have significant consequences for the regulation of integrative physiological systems. There is growing interest in the potential contribution of microbiota-gut-brain signalling to cardiorespiratory control in health and disease. Methods: In adult male rats, we sought to determine the cardiorespiratory effects of manipulation of the gut microbiota following a 4-week administration of a cocktail of antibiotics. We subsequently explored the effects of administration of faecal microbiota from pooled control (vehicle) rat faeces, given by gavage to vehicle- and antibiotic-treated rats. Findings: Antibiotic intervention depressed the ventilatory response to hypercapnic stress in conscious animals, owing to a reduction in the respiratory frequency response to carbon dioxide. Baseline frequency, respiratory timing variability, and the expression of apnoeas and sighs were normal. Microbiota-depleted rats had decreased systolic blood pressure. Faecal microbiota transfer to vehicle- and antibiotic-treated animals also disrupted the gut microbiota composition, associated with depressed ventilatory responsiveness to hypercapnia. Chronic antibiotic intervention or faecal microbiota transfer both caused significant disruptions to brainstem monoamine neurochemistry, with increased homovanillic acid:dopamine ratio indicative of increased dopamine turnover, which correlated with the abundance of several bacteria of six different phyla. Interpretation: Chronic antibiotic administration and faecal microbiota transfer disrupt gut microbiota, brainstem monoamine concentrations and the ventilatory response to hypercapnia. We suggest that aberrant microbiota-gut-brain axis signalling has a modulatory influence on respiratory behaviour during hypercapnic stress.
    • Marked elevations in pro-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolites in females with irritable bowel syndrome

      Clarke, Gerard; Fitzgerald, Peter; Hennessy, Alan A.; Cassidy, Eugene M.; Quigley M., Eamonn M.; Ross, Paul; STANTON, CATHERINE; Cryan, John F.; Dinan, Timothy G. (Elsevier, 2021-01-04)
      Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder referred to gastroenterologists. Although the pathophysiology remains unclear, accumulating evidence points to the presence of low-level immune activation both in the gut and systemically. Circulating polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have recently attracted attention as being altered in a variety of disease states. Arachidonic acid (AA), in particular, has been implicated in the development of a pro-inflammatory profile in a number of immune-related disorders. AA is the precursor of a number of important immunomodulatory eicosanoids, including prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and leukotriene B4 (LTB4). We investigated the hypothesis that elevated plasma AA concentrations in plasma contribute to the proposed pro-inflammatory profile in IBS. Plasma AA and related PUFA were quantified by gas chromatography analysis in IBS patients and controls. Both PGE2 and LTB4 were measured in serum using commercially available ELISA assays. AA concentrations were elevated in our patient cohort compared with healthy controls. Moreover, we demonstrated that this disturbance in plasma AA concentrations leads to downstream elevations in eicosanoids. Together, our data identifies a novel proinflammatory mechanism in irritable bowel syndrome and also suggests that elevated arachidonic acid levels in plasma may serve as putative biological markers in this condition.
    • Metabolome and microbiome profiling of a stress-sensitive rat model of gut-brain axis dysfunction

      Bassett, Shalome A.; Young, Wayne; Fraser, Karl; Dalziel, Julie E.; Webster, Jim; Ryan, Leigh; Fitzgerald, Patrick; Stanton, Catherine; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-10-01)
      Stress negatively impacts gut and brain health. Individual diferences in response to stress have been linked to genetic and environmental factors and more recently, a role for the gut microbiota in the regulation of stress-related changes has been demonstrated. However, the mechanisms by which these factors infuence each other are poorly understood, and there are currently no established robust biomarkers of stress susceptibility. To determine the metabolic and microbial signatures underpinning physiological stress responses, we compared stress-sensitive Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats to the normoanxious Sprague Dawley (SD) strain. Here we report that acute stress-induced strain-specifc changes in brain lipid metabolites were a prominent feature in WKY rats. The relative abundance of Lactococcus correlated with the relative proportions of many brain lipids. In contrast, plasma lipids were signifcantly elevated in response to stress in SD rats, but not in WKY rats. Supporting these fndings, we found that the greatest diference between the SD and WKY microbiomes were the predicted relative abundance of microbial genes involved in lipid and energy metabolism. Our results provide potential insights for developing novel biomarkers of stress vulnerability, some of which appear genotype specifc.
    • 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.
    • Microbiota-related Changes in Bile Acid & Tryptophan Metabolism are Associated with Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Autism

      Golubeva, Anna B.; Joyce, Susan; Moloney, Gerard; Burokas, Aurelijus; Sherwin, Eoin; Arboleya, Silvia; Flynn, Ian; Khochanskiy, Dmitry; Perez, Angela M.; Peterson, Veronica; et al. (15/09/2017)
      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.
    • Prebiotic administration modulates gut microbiota and faecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations but does not prevent chronic intermittent hypoxia-induced apnoea and hypertension in adult rats

      O'Connor, Karen M.; Lucking, Eric F.; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz F.S.; Peterson, Veronica L.; Crispie, Fiona; Cotter, Paul D.; Clarke, Gerard; Cryan, John F.; O'Halloran, Ken D.; Science Foundation Ireland (Science Direct, 2020-08-30)
      Background Evidence is accruing to suggest that microbiota-gut-brain signalling plays a regulatory role in cardiorespiratory physiology. Chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH), modelling human sleep apnoea, affects gut microbiota composition and elicits cardiorespiratory morbidity. We investigated if treatment with prebiotics ameliorates cardiorespiratory dysfunction in CIH-exposed rats. Methods Adult male rats were exposed to CIH (96 cycles/day, 6.0% O2 at nadir) for 14 consecutive days with and without prebiotic supplementation (fructo- and galacto-oligosaccharides) beginning two weeks prior to gas exposures. Findings CIH increased apnoea index and caused hypertension. CIH exposure had modest effects on the gut microbiota, decreasing the relative abundance of Lactobacilli species, but had no effect on microbial functional characteristics. Faecal short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations, plasma and brainstem pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations and brainstem neurochemistry were unaffected by exposure to CIH. Prebiotic administration modulated gut microbiota composition and diversity, altering gut-metabolic (GMMs) and gut-brain (GBMs) modules and increased faecal acetic and propionic acid concentrations, but did not prevent adverse CIH-induced cardiorespiratory phenotypes. Interpretation CIH-induced cardiorespiratory dysfunction is not dependant upon changes in microbial functional characteristics and decreased faecal SCFA concentrations. Prebiotic-related modulation of microbial function and resultant increases in faecal SCFAs were not sufficient to prevent CIH-induced apnoea and hypertension in our model. Our results do not exclude the potential for microbiota-gut-brain axis involvement in OSA-related cardiorespiratory morbidity, but they demonstrate that in a relatively mild model of CIH, sufficient to evoke classic cardiorespiratory dysfunction, such changes are not obligatory for the development of morbidity, but may become relevant in the elaboration and maintenance of cardiorespiratory morbidity with progressive disease. Funding Department of Physiology and APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork, Ireland. APC Microbiome Ireland is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, through the Government's National Development Plan.