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Papers of the Week

2021 May 31

Life Sci

Effects of gut microbiota remodeling on the dysbiosis induced by high fat diet in a mouse model of Gulf war illness.


Angoa-Pérez M, Zagorac B, Francescutti DM, Theis KR, Kuhn DM
Life Sci. 2021 May 31:119675.
PMID: 34081987.


Gulf war illness (GWI) is a chronic disorder of unknown etiology characterized by multiple symptoms such as pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances and neurocognitive problems. Increasing evidence suggests that gut microbiome perturbations play a key role in the pathology of this disorder. GWI courses with gut microbiota alterations and their metabolites (e.g. short chain fatty acids -SCFA-), which can be aggravated by lifestyle risk factors such as a high fat diet (HF). To investigate the causative role of the gut microbiome, non-absorbable antibiotics (Abx) were administered to mice treated with GWI agents and concomitantly fed with a HF. In light of the wide use of Abx as pseudo-germ-free models, we evaluated the effects of Abx exposure on GWI and HF on body weight, food intake, gut microbiota changes and levels of the SCFA acetate. Results show that HF decreased food intake while increasing body weight in both controls and GWI. Exposure to Abx prevented these HF effects by offsetting the body weight gain in GWI. GWI and HF led to decreases in α-diversity, disruptions in the composition and structure of the gut bacterial community and decreases in acetate levels. This Abx-induced remodeling of the gut microbiome was characterized by an expansion of Proteobacteria, decreases in Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, and overall increases in acetate levels, as well as by the proliferation of potential pathobionts. Therefore, the use of Abx may not represent a dependable approach to deplete the gut microbiome and its advantages as a pseudo germ-free model warrant further investigation.