UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Characterization of the gut microbiome in a porcine model of thoracic spinal cord injury Doelman, Adam; Tigchelaar, Seth; McConeghy, Brian; Sinha, Sunita; Keung, Martin S.; Manouchehri, Neda; Webster, Megan; Fisk, Shera; Morrison, Charlotte; Streijger, Femke; et al.


Background The gut microbiome is a diverse network of bacteria which inhabit our digestive tract and is crucial for efficient cellular metabolism, nutrient absorption, and immune system development. Spinal cord injury (SCI) disrupts autonomic function below the level of injury and can alter the composition of the gut microbiome. Studies in rodent models have shown that SCI-induced bacterial imbalances in the gut can exacerbate the spinal cord damage and impair recovery. In this study we, for the first time, characterized the composition of the gut microbiome in a Yucatan minipig SCI model. We compared the relative abundance of the most dominant bacterial phyla in control samples to those collected from animals who underwent a contusion-compression SCI at the 2nd or 10th Thoracic level. Results We identify specific bacterial fluctuations that are unique to SCI animals, which were not found in uninjured animals given the same dietary regimen or antibiotic administration. Further, we identified a specific time-frame, “SCI-acute stage”, during which many of these bacterial fluctuations occur before returning to “baseline” levels. Conclusion This work presents a dynamic view of the microbiome changes that accompany SCI, establishes a resource for future studies and to understand the changes that occur to gut microbiota after spinal cord injury and may point to a potential therapeutic target for future treatment.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)