Assessing the Beneficial Effects of the Immunomodulatory Glycan LNFPIII on Gut Microbiota and Health in a Mouse Model of Gulf War Illness

The microbiota’s influence on host (patho) physiology has gained interest in the context of Gulf War Illness (GWI), a chronic disorder featuring dysregulation of the gut-brain-immune axis. This study examined short- and long-term effects of GWI-related chemicals on gut health and fecal microbiota and the potential benefits of Lacto-N-fucopentaose-III (LNFPIII) treatment in a GWI model. Male C57BL/6J mice were administered pyridostigmine bromide (PB; 0.7 mg/kg) and permethrin (PM; 200 mg/kg) for 10 days with concurrent LNFPIII treatment (35 μg/mouse) in a short-term study (12 days total) and delayed LNFPIII treatment (2×/week) beginning 4 months after 10 days of PB/PM exposure in a long-term study (9 months total). Fecal 16S rRNA sequencing was performed on all samples post-LNFPIII treatment to assess microbiota effects of GWI chemicals and acute/delayed LNFPIII administration. Although PB/PM did not affect species composition on a global scale, it affected specific taxa in both short- and long-term settings. PB/PM elicited more prominent long-term effects, notably, on the abundances of bacteria belonging to Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae families and the genus Allobaculum. LNFPIII improved a marker of gut health (i.e., decreased lipocalin-2) independent of GWI and, importantly, increased butyrate producers (e.g., ButyricoccusRuminococcous) in PB/PM-treated mice, indicating a positive selection pressure for these bacteria. Multiple operational taxonomic units correlated with aberrant behavior and lipocalin-2 in PB/PM samples; LNFPIII was modulatory. Overall, significant and lasting GWI effects occurred on specific microbiota and LNFPIII treatment was beneficial.

Ryan S Mote, Jessica M Carpenter, Rachel L Dockman, Andrew J Steinberger, Garret Suen, Thomas Norberg, Donald A Harn, John J Wagner, Nikolay M Filipov. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 27;17(19):E7081. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17197081.

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