Gastrointestinal microbiota composition predicts peripheral inflammatory state during treatment of human tuberculosis.

Nature communications, Volume: 12, Issue: 1
February 18, 2021
Matthew F Wipperman MF, Shakti K Bhattarai SK, Charles Kyriakos Vorkas CK, Venkata Suhas Maringati VS, Ying Taur Y, Laurent Mathurin L, Katherine McAulay K, Stalz Charles Vilbrun SC, Daphie Francois D, James Bean J, Kathleen F Walsh KF, Carl Nathan C, Daniel W Fitzgerald DW, Michael S Glickman MS, Vanni Bucci V

The composition of the gastrointestinal microbiota influences systemic immune responses, but how this affects infectious disease pathogenesis and antibiotic therapy outcome is poorly understood. This question is rarely examined in humans due to the difficulty in dissociating the immunologic effects of antibiotic-induced pathogen clearance and microbiome alteration. Here, we analyze data from two longitudinal studies of tuberculosis (TB) therapy (35 and 20 individuals) and a cross sectional study from 55 healthy controls, in which we collected fecal samples (for microbiome analysis), sputum (for determination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacterial load), and peripheral blood (for transcriptomic analysis). We decouple microbiome effects from pathogen sterilization by comparing standard TB therapy with an experimental TB treatment that did not reduce Mtb bacterial load. Random forest regression to the microbiome-transcriptome-sputum data from the two longitudinal datasets reveals that renormalization of the TB inflammatory state is associated with Mtb pathogen clearance, increased abundance of Clusters IV and XIVa Clostridia, and decreased abundance of Bacilli and Proteobacteria. We find similar associations when applying machine learning to peripheral gene expression and microbiota profiling in the independent cohort of healthy individuals. Our findings indicate that antibiotic-induced reduction in pathogen burden and changes in the microbiome are independently associated with treatment-induced changes of the inflammatory response of active TB, and the response to antibiotic therapy may be a combined effect of pathogen killing and microbiome driven immunomodulation.