Predicting Neurodegenerative Disease Using Prepathology Gut Microbiota Composition: a Longitudinal Study in Mice Modeling Alzheimer’s Disease Pathologies

Emily M. Borsom, Kathryn Conn, Christopher R. Keefe, Chloe Herman, Gabrielle M. Orsini, Allyson H. Hirsch, Melanie Palma Avila, George Testo, Sierra A. Jaramillo, Evan Bolyen, Keehoon Lee, J. Gregory Caporaso, Emily K. Cope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The gut microbiota-brain axis is suspected to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by amyloid-β plaque deposition, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuroinflammation. To evaluate the role of the gut microbiota-brain axis in AD, we characterized the gut microbiota of female 3xTg-AD mice modeling amyloidosis and tauopathy and wild-type (WT) genetic controls. Fecal samples were collected fortnightly from 4 to 52 weeks, and the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq. RNA was extracted from the colon and hippocampus, converted to cDNA, and used to measure immune gene expression using reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). Diversity metrics were calculated using QIIME2, and a random forest classifier was applied to predict bacterial features that are important in predicting mouse genotype. Gene expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP; indicating astrocytosis) was elevated in the colon at 24 weeks. Markers of Th1 inflammation (il6) and microgliosis (mrc1) were elevated in the hippocampus. Gut microbiota were compositionally distinct early in life between 3xTg-AD mice and WT mice (permutational multivariate analysis of variance [PERMANOVA], 8 weeks, P = 0.001, 24 weeks, P = 0.039, and 52 weeks, P = 0.058). Mouse genotypes were correctly predicted 90 to 100% of the time using fecal microbiome composition. Finally, we show that the relative abundance of Bacteroides species increased over time in 3xTg-AD mice. Taken together, we demonstrate that changes in bacterial gut microbiota composition at prepathology time points are predictive of the development of AD pathologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Bacteroides
  • gut microbiome
  • gut-brain axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases

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