Department of Emergency Medicine; Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems; Center for Microbiome Research
Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Digestive System | Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Medical Microbiology | Mental Disorders | Microbiology | Nervous System | Nervous System Diseases | Neuroscience and Neurobiology
The microbiota-gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication system that is poorly understood. Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia, has long been associated with bacterial infections and inflammation-causing immunosenescence. Recent studies examining the intestinal microbiota of AD patients revealed that their microbiome differs from that of subjects without dementia. In this work, we prospectively enrolled 108 nursing home elders and followed each for up to 5 months, collecting longitudinal stool samples from which we performed metagenomic sequencing and in vitro T84 intestinal epithelial cell functional assays for P-glycoprotein (P-gp) expression, a critical mediator of intestinal homeostasis. Our analysis identified clinical parameters as well as numerous microbial taxa and functional genes that act as predictors of AD dementia in comparison to elders without dementia or with other dementia types. We further demonstrate that stool samples from elders with AD can induce lower P-gp expression levels in vitro those samples from elders without dementia or with other dementia types. We also paired functional studies with machine learning approaches to identify bacterial species differentiating the microbiome of AD elders from that of elders without dementia, which in turn are accurate predictors of the loss of dysregulation of the P-gp pathway. We observed that the microbiome of AD elders shows a lower proportion and prevalence of bacteria with the potential to synthesize butyrate, as well as higher abundances of taxa that are known to cause proinflammatory states. Therefore, a potential nexus between the intestinal microbiome and AD is the modulation of intestinal homeostasis by increases in inflammatory, and decreases in anti-inflammatory, microbial metabolism.IMPORTANCE Studies of the intestinal microbiome and AD have demonstrated associations with microbiome composition at the genus level among matched cohorts. We move this body of literature forward by more deeply investigating microbiome composition via metagenomics and by comparing AD patients against those without dementia and with other dementia types. We also exploit machine learning approaches that combine both metagenomic and clinical data. Finally, our functional studies using stool samples from elders demonstrate how the c microbiome of AD elders can affect intestinal health via dysregulation of the P-glycoprotein pathway. P-glycoprotein dysregulation contributes directly to inflammatory disorders of the intestine. Since AD has been long thought to be linked to chronic bacterial infections as a possible etiology, our findings therefore fill a gap in knowledge in the field of AD research by identifying a nexus between the microbiome, loss of intestinal homeostasis, and inflammation that may underlie this neurodegenerative disorder.
Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, elderly, gut-brain axis, intestinal homeostasis, intestinal microbiome
Rights and Permissions
Copyright © 2019 Haran et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
DOI of Published Version
MBio. 2019 May 7;10(3). pii: mBio.00632-19. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00632-19. Link to article on publisher's site
Haran JP, Bhattarai SK, Foley S, Dutta P, Ward DV, Bucci V, McCormick BA. (2019). Alzheimer's Disease Microbiome Is Associated with Dysregulation of the Anti-Inflammatory P-Glycoprotein Pathway. Open Access Publications by UMass Chan Authors. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00632-19. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/oapubs/3856
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Cellular and Molecular Physiology Commons, Digestive System Commons, Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology Commons, Immunology and Infectious Disease Commons, Medical Microbiology Commons, Mental Disorders Commons, Nervous System Commons, Nervous System Diseases Commons, Neuroscience and Neurobiology Commons