Evidence for the Role of the Cecal Microbiome in Maintenance of Immune Regulation and Homeostasis

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Abstract

Objective (s):

Our objective was to investigate alterations in the cecal microbial composition during the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D) with or without IgM therapy, and correlate these alterations with the corresponding immune profile.

Methods:

(1) Female nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice treated with IgM or saline (n = 20/group) were divided into 5-week-old nondiabetic; 9 to 12-week-old prehyperglycemic stage-1; ≥13-week-old prehyperglycemic stage-2; and diabetic groups. 16S rRNA libraries were prepared from bacterial DNA and deep-sequenced. (2) New-onset diabetic mice were treated with IgM (200 μg on Days 1, 3, and 5) and their blood glucose monitored for 2 months.

Results:

Significant dysbiosis was observed in the cecal microbiome with the progression of T1D development. The alteration in microbiome composition was characterized by an increase in the bacteroidetes:firmicutes ratio. In contrast, IgM conserved normal bacteroidetes:firmicutes ratio and this effect was long-lasting. Furthermore, oral gavage using cecal content from IgM-treated mice significantly diminished the incidence of diabetes compared with controls, indicating that IgM specifically affected mucosa-associated microbes, and that the affect was causal and not an epiphenomenon. Also, regulatory immune cell populations (myeloid-derived suppressor cells and regulatory T cells) were expanded and insulin autoantibody production diminished in the IgM-treated mice. In addition, IgM therapy reversed hyperglycemia in 70% of new-onset diabetic mice (n = 10) and the mice remained normoglycemic for the entire post-treatment observation period.

Conclusions:

The cecal microbiome appears to be important in maintaining immune homeostasis and normal immune responses.

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