Intestinal epithelial Na+/H+ exchange facilitated by the apical NHE3 (Slc9a3) is a highly regulated process inhibited by intestinal pathogens and in inflammatory bowel diseases. NHE3−/− mice develop spontaneous, bacterially mediated colitis, and IBD-like dysbiosis. Disruption of epithelial Na+/H+ exchange in IBD may thus represent a host response contributing to the altered gut microbial ecology, and may play a pivotal role in modulating the severity of inflammation in a microbiome-dependent manner. To test whether microbiome fostered in an NHE3-deficient environment is able to drive mucosal immune responses affecting the onset or severity of colitis, we performed a series of cohousing experiments and fecal microbiome transplants into germ-free Rag-deficient or IL-10−/− mice. We determined that in the settings where the microbiome of NHE3-deficient mice was stably engrafted in the recipient host, it was able accelerate the onset and amplify severity of experimental colitis. NHE3-deficiency was characterized by the reduction in pH-sensitive butyrate-producing Firmicutes families Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae (Clostridia clusters IV and XIVa), with an expansion of inflammation-associated Bacteroidaceae. We conclude that the microbiome fostered by impaired epithelial Na+/H+ exchange enhances the onset and severity of colitis through disruption of the gut microbial ecology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy