Gut microbiota in experimental murine model of Graves' orbitopathy established in different environments may modulate clinical presentation of disease

The INDIGO consortium

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Abstract

Background: Variation in induced models of autoimmunity has been attributed to the housing environment and its effect on the gut microbiota In Graves' disease (GD), autoantibodies to the thyrotropin receptor (TSHR) cause autoimmune hyperthyroidism Many GD patients develop Graves' orbitopathy or ophthalmopathy (GO) characterized by orbital tissue remodeling including adipogenesis Murine models of GD/GO would help delineate pathogenetic mechanisms, and although several have been reported, most lack reproducibility A model comprising immunization of female BALBc mice with a TSHR expression plasmid using in vivo electroporation was reproduced in two independent laboratories Similar orbital disease was induced in both centers, but differences were apparent (e.g., hyperthyroidism in Center 1 but not Center 2) We hypothesized a role for the gut microbiota influencing the outcome and reproducibility of induced GO Results: We combined metataxonomics (16S rRNA gene sequencing) and traditional microbial culture of the intestinal contents from the GO murine model, to analyze the gut microbiota in the two centers We observed significant differences in alpha and beta diversity and in the taxonomic profiles, e.g., operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from the genus Lactobacillus were more abundant in Center 2, and Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium counts were more abundant in Center 1 where we also observed a negative correlation between the OTUs of the genus Intestinimonas and TSHR autoantibodies Traditional microbiology largely confirmed the metataxonomics data and indicated significantly higher yeast counts in Center 1 TSHR-immunized mice We also compared the gut microbiota between immunization groups within Center 2, comprising the TSHR- or βgal control-immunized mice and naïve untreated mice We observed a shift of the TSHR-immunized mice bacterial communities described by the beta diversity weighted Unifrac Furthermore, we observed a significant positive correlation between the presence of Firmicutes and orbital-adipogenesis specifically in TSHR-immunized mice Conclusions: The significant differences observed in microbiota composition from BALBc mice undergoing the same immunization protocol in comparable specific-pathogen-free (SPF) units in different centers support a role for the gut microbiota in modulating the induced response The gut microbiota might also contribute to the heterogeneity of induced response since we report potential disease-associated microbial taxonomies and correlation with ocular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalMicrobiome
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Firmicutes
  • Graves' disease
  • Graves' orbitopathy
  • Gut microbiota
  • Induced animal model
  • Metataxonomics
  • Orbital adipogenesis
  • TSHR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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