Fecal Microbiota Transplant Restores Mucosal Integrity in a Murine Model of Burn Injury

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The gut microbiome is a community of commensal organisms that are known to play a role in nutrient production as well as gut homeostasis. The composition of the gut flora can be affected by many factors; however, the impact of burn injury on the microbiome is not fully known. Here, we hypothesized that burn-induced changes to the microbiome would impact overall colon health. After scald-burn injury, cecal samples were analyzed for aerobic and anaerobic colony forming units, bacterial community, and butyrate levels. In addition, colon and total intestinal permeabilities were determined. These parameters were further determined in a germ-reduced murine model. Following both burn injury and germ reduction, we observed decreases in aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, increased colon permeability and no change to small intestinal permeability. After burn injury, we further observed a significant decrease in the butyrate producing bacteria R. Gnavus, C. Eutactus, and Roseburia species as well as decreases in colonic butyrate. Finally, in mice that underwent burn followed by fecal microbiota transplant, bacteria levels and mucosal integrity were restored. Altogether our data demonstrate that burn injury can alter the microbiome leading to decreased butyrate levels and increased colon permeability. Of interest, fecal microbiota transplant treatment was able to ameliorate the burn-induced changes in colon permeability. Thus, fecal transplantation may represent a novel therapy in restoring colon health after burn injury.

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