• 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.
    • Maternal omega-3 fatty acids regulate offspring obesity through persistent modulation of gut microbiota

      Robertson, Ruairi C; Kaliannan, Kanakaraju; Strain, Conall R.; Ross, R Paul; STANTON, CATHERINE; Kang, Jing X.; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board; NutraMara programme; SMART FOOD project; et al. (BMC, 2018-05-24)
      Background: The early-life gut microbiota plays a critical role in host metabolism in later life. However, little is known about how the fatty acid profile of the maternal diet during gestation and lactation influences the development of the offspring gut microbiota and subsequent metabolic health outcomes. Results: Here, using a unique transgenic model, we report that maternal endogenous n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) production during gestation or lactation significantly reduces weight gain and markers of metabolic disruption in male murine offspring fed a high-fat diet. However, maternal fatty acid status appeared to have no significant effect on weight gain in female offspring. The metabolic phenotypes in male offspring appeared to be mediated by comprehensive restructuring of gut microbiota composition. Reduced maternal n-3 PUFA exposure led to significantly depleted Epsilonproteobacteria, Bacteroides, and Akkermansia and higher relative abundance of Clostridia. Interestingly, offspring metabolism and microbiota composition were more profoundly influenced by the maternal fatty acid profile during lactation than in utero. Furthermore, the maternal fatty acid profile appeared to have a long-lasting effect on offspring microbiota composition and function that persisted into adulthood after life-long high-fat diet feeding. Conclusions: Our data provide novel evidence that weight gain and metabolic dysfunction in adulthood is mediated by maternal fatty acid status through long-lasting restructuring of the gut microbiota. These results have important implications for understanding the interaction between modern Western diets, metabolic health, and the intestinal microbiome.
    • Prebiotics from Seaweeds: An Ocean of Opportunity?

      Cherry, Paul; Yadav, Supriya; Strain, Conall R.; Allsopp, Philip J.; McSorley, Emeir; Ross, R Paul; STANTON, CATHERINE; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; 13F511 (PREMARA) (MDPI, 2019-06-01)
      Abstract Seaweeds are an underexploited and potentially sustainable crop which offer a rich source of bioactive compounds, including novel complex polysaccharides, polyphenols, fatty acids, and carotenoids. The purported efficacies of these phytochemicals have led to potential functional food and nutraceutical applications which aim to protect against cardiometabolic and inflammatory risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and some cancers. Concurrent understanding that perturbations of gut microbial composition and metabolic function manifest throughout health and disease has led to dietary strategies, such as prebiotics, which exploit the diet-host-microbe paradigm to modulate the gut microbiota, such that host health is maintained or improved. The prebiotic definition was recently updated to “a substrate that is selectively utilised by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”, which, given that previous discussion regarding seaweed prebiotics has focused upon saccharolytic fermentation, an opportunity is presented to explore how non-complex polysaccharide components from seaweeds may be metabolised by host microbial populations to benefit host health. Thus, this review provides an innovative approach to consider how the gut microbiota may utilise seaweed phytochemicals, such as polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and carotenoids, and provides an updated discussion regarding the catabolism of seaweed-derived complex polysaccharides with potential prebiotic activity. Additional in vitro screening studies and in vivo animal studies are needed to identify potential prebiotics from seaweeds, alongside untargeted metabolomics to decipher microbial-derived metabolites from seaweeds. Furthermore, controlled human intervention studies with health-related end points to elucidate prebiotic efficacy are required.