Wild mouse gut microbiota limits initial tuberculosis infection in BALB/c mice.
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Journal:PloS one, Volume: 18, Issue: 7
Mouse models are critical tools in tuberculosis (TB) research. Recent studies have demonstrated that the wild mouse gut microbiota promotes host fitness and improves disease resistance. Here we examine whether the wild mouse gut microbiota alters the immunopathology of TB in BALB/c mice. Conventional BALB/c mice (LabC) and mice born to germ-free BALB/c mothers reconstituted with the wild mouse gut microbiota (WildR) were used in our studies. WildR mice controlled initial TB infection better than LabC mice. The microbial gut communities of LabC mice and WildR mice had similar richness but significantly different composition prior to infection. TB reduced the gut community richness in both cohorts while differences in community composition remained indicating a general TB-induced dysbiosis. The wild mouse gut microbiota did not alter the typical lung histopathology of TB in the BALB/c model that includes unstructured immune cell infiltrates with infected foamy macrophages invading alveolar spaces. Animals of both cohorts mounted robust T cell responses in lungs and spleen with lower absolute counts of CD4 and CD8 T cells in lungs of WildR mice during acute infection, corresponding with observed differences in pathogen load. In summary, LabC mice and WildR mice showed largely overlapping TB immunopathology and pathogen kinetics, with WildR mice controlling early acute infection better than LabC mice.