The Gut Research group regularly publishes new manuscripts. The most recent publications can be found here.
Visceral hypersensitivity is one feature of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Bacterial dysbiosis might be involved in activation of nociceptive sensory pathways, but there have been few studies of the role of the mycobiome (the fungal microbiome) in development of IBS.
We used internal transcribed spacer 1-based metabarcoding to compare fecal mycobiomes of 18 healthy volunteers with those of 39 patients with IBS (with visceral hypersensitivity or normal levels of sensitivity). We also compared the mycobiomes of Long Evans rats separated from their mothers (hypersensitive) with non-handled (normally sensitive) rats. We investigated whether fungi can cause visceral hypersensitivity using rats exposed to fungicide (fluconazole and nystatin). The functional relevance of the gut mycobiome was confirmed in fecal transplantation experiments: adult maternally separated rats were subjected to water avoidance stress (to induce visceral hypersensitivity), then given fungicide and donor cecum content via oral gavage. Other rats subjected to water avoidance stress were given soluble β-glucans, which antagonize C-type lectin domain family 7 member A (CLEC7A or DECTIN1) signaling via spleen associated tyrosine kinase (SYK), a SYK inhibitor to reduce visceral hypersensitivity, or vehicle (control). The sensitivity of mast cells to fungi was tested with mesenteric windows (ex vivo) and the human mast cell line HMC-1.
α diversity (Shannon index) and mycobiome signature (stability selection) of both groups of IBS patients differed from healthy volunteers, and the mycobiome signature of hypersensitive patients differed from that of normally sensitive patients. We observed mycobiome dysbiosis in rats that had been separated from their mothers compared with non-handled rats. Administration of fungicide to hypersensitive rats reduced their visceral hypersensitivity to normal levels of sensitivity. Administration of cecal mycobiomes from rats that had been separated from their mothers (but not non-handled mycobiome) restored hypersensitivity to distension. Administration of soluble β-glucans or a SYK inhibitor reduced visceral hypersensitivity, compared with controls. Particulate β-glucan (a DECTIN-1 agonist) induced mast cell degranulation in mesenteric windows and HMC-1 cells responded to fungal antigens by release of histamine.
In an analysis of patients with IBS and controls, we associated fungal dysbiosis with IBS. In studies of rats, we found fungi to promote visceral hypersensitivity, which could be reduced by administration of fungicides, soluble β-glucans, or a SYK inhibitor. The intestinal fungi might therefore be manipulated for treatment of IBS-related visceral hypersensitivity.
Anastomotic leakage (AL) following abdominal surgery is a critical determinant of postoperative recovery, of which the aetiology is largely unknown. Interestingly, interventions aimed at reducing the inflammatory response and postoperative ileus (POI) have an unexpected effect on AL. The aim of this study was to investigate the relation of POI with inflammation and AL after colorectal resection.
Transcription of inflammatory genes is tightly regulated by acetylation and deacetylation of histone tails. An inhibitor of the acetylated-lysine reader bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) proteins, I-BET151, is known to counteract the induction of expression of inflammatory genes in macrophages. We have investigated the effects of I-BET151 on dendritic cell function, including expression of co-stimulatory molecules and cytokines, and capacity for T cell activation.
Treatment of mouse bone marrow derived dendritic cells (BMDC) and human monocyte derived DCs (mdDC) with I-BET151 reduced LPS-induced expression of co-stimulatory molecules, as well as the production of multiple cyokines and chemokines. Most strikingly, secretion of IL-6, IL-12 and IL-10 was significantly reduced to 89.7%, 99.9% and 98.6% respectively of that produced by control cells.
I-BET151-treated mdDC showed a reduced ability to stimulate proliferation of autologous Revaxis-specific T cells. Moreover, while I-BET151 treatment of BMDC did not affect their ability to polarise ovalbumin specific CD4+ CD62L+ naive T cells towards Th1, Th2, or Th17 phenotypes, an increase in Foxp3 expressing Tregs secreting higher IL-10 levels was observed. Suppression assays demonstrated that Tregs generated in response to I-BET151-treated BMDC displayed anti-proliferative capacity. Finally, evidence that I-BET151 treatment can ameliorate inflammation in vivo in a T cell dependent colitis model is shown.
Overall, these results demonstrate marked effects of BET inhibition on DC maturation, reducing their capacity for pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion and T cell activation and enhancing the potential of DC to induce Foxp3 expressing Treg with suppressive properties.