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Fecal microbiota transplantation stimulates type 2 and tolerogenic immune responses in a mouse model.

Anaerobe 2024 March 22
OBJECTIVES: Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is the leading hospital-acquired infection in North America. While previous work on fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), a highly effective treatment for CDI, has focused on colonization resistance mounted against C. difficile by FMT-delivered commensals, the effects of FMT on host gene expression are relatively unexplored. This study aims to identify transcriptional changes associated with FMT, particularly changes associated with protective immune responses.

METHODS: Gene expression was assessed on day 2 and day 7 after FMT in mice after antibiotic-induced dysbiosis. Flow cytometry was also performed on colon and mesenteric lymph nodes at day 7 to investigate changes in immune cell populations.

RESULTS: FMT administration after antibiotic-induced dysbiosis successfully restored microbial alpha diversity to levels of donor mice by day 7 post-FMT. Bulk RNA sequencing of cecal tissue at day 2 identified immune genes, including both pro-inflammatory and Type 2 immune pathways as upregulated after FMT. RNA sequencing was repeated on day 7 post-FMT, and expression of these immune genes was decreased along with upregulation of genes associated with restoration of intestinal homeostasis. Immunoprofiling on day 7 identified increased colonic CD45+ immune cells that exhibited dampened Type 1 and heightened regulatory and Type 2 responses. These include an increased abundance of eosinophils, alternatively activated macrophages, Th2, and T regulatory cell populations.

CONCLUSION: These results highlight the impact of FMT on host gene expression, providing evidence that FMT restores intestinal homeostasis after antibiotic treatment and facilitates tolerogenic and Type 2 immune responses.

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