Nucleotide-binding Oligomerization Domain-2 (NOD2) mutations are associated with an increased risk to develop Crohn’s Disease. In previous studies, we have shown that Nod2−/− mice manifest increased proportion of Lamina Propria (LP) CD4+ LAP+ Foxp3− regulatory cells, when compared with Nod2+/+ mice, while CD4+ Foxp3 + regulatory cells were not affected. Here, we investigated the Nod2 gut microbiota, by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing, at steady state and after TNBS-colitis induction in mice reared separately or in cohousing, correlating the microbial profiles with LP regulatory T cells proportion and tissue cytokines content. We found that enrichment of Rikenella and Alistipes (Rikenellaceae) in Nod2−/− mice at 8 weeks of age reared separately was associated with increased proportion of CD4+ LAP+ Foxp3− cells and less severe TNBS-colitis. In co-housed mice the acquisition of Rickenellaceae by Nod2+/+ mice was associated with increased CD4+ LAP+ Foxp3− proportion and less severe colitis. Severe colitis was associated with enrichment of gram-negative pathobionts (Escherichia and Enterococcus), while less severe colitis with protective bacteria (Barnesiella, Odoribacter and Clostridium IV). Environmental factors acting on genetic background with different outcomes according to their impact on microbiota, predispose in different ways to inflammation. These results open a new scenario for therapeutic attempt to re-establish eubiosis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients with NOD2 polymorphisms.
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