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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.02757

Traumatic brain injury in mice induces acute bacterial dysbiosis within the fecal microbiome

  • 1Department of Computer Science, Rice University, United States
  • 2Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Maryland, United States
  • 3Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University, United States
  • 4Center for Neuroregeneration, Department of Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Research Institute, United States

The secondary injury cascade that is activated following traumatic brain injury (TBI) induces responses from multiple physiological systems, including the immune system. These responses are not limited to the area of brain injury; they can also alter peripheral organs such as the intestinal tract. Gut microbiota play a role in the regulation of immune cell populations and microglia activation, and microbiome dysbiosis is implicated in immune dysregulation and behavioral abnormalities. However, changes to the gut microbiome induced after acute TBI remains largely unexplored. In this study, we have investigated the impact of TBI on bacterial dysbiosis. To test the hypothesis that TBI results in changes in microbiome composition, we performed controlled cortical impact (CCI) or sham injury in male 9-weeks old C57BL/6J mice. Fresh stool pellets were collected at baseline and at 24h post-CCI. 16S rRNA based microbiome analysis was performed to identify differential abundance in bacteria at the genus and species level. In all baseline vs. 24h post-CCI samples, we evaluated species-level differential abundances via clustered and annotated operational taxonomic units (OTU). At a high-level view, we observed significant changes in two genera after TBI, Marvinbryantia, and Clostridiales. At the species-level, we found significant decreases in three species (Lactobacillus gasseri, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, and Eubacterium ventriosum), and significant increases in two additional species (Eubacterium sulci, and Marvinbryantia formatexigens). These results pinpoint critical changes in the genus-level and species-level microbiome composition in injured mice compared to baseline; highlighting a previously unreported acute dysbiosis in the microbiome after TBI.

Keywords: gut-brain axis, Lactobacillus, Metagenomic analyses, brain damage, microbiome

Received: 30 Sep 2018; Accepted: 09 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

John R. Lukens, University of Virginia, United States

Reviewed by:

Prajwal Gurung, University of Iowa, United States
Christopher Lupfer, Missouri State University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Treangen, Wagner, Burns and Villapol. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Sonia Villapol, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Center for Neuroregeneration, Department of Neurosurgery, Houston, 77030, Texas, United States,