Cxcr2 signaling and the microbiome suppress inflammation, bile duct injury, and the phenotype of experimental biliary atresia

Junbae Jee, Reena Mourya, Pranavkumar Shivakumar, Lin Fei, Michael Wagner, Jorge A. Bezerra

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15 Scopus citations


Biliary atresia is progressive fibro-inflammatory cholangiopathy of young children. Central to pathogenic mechanisms of injury is the tissue targeting by the innate and adaptive immune cells. Among these cells, neutrophils and the IL-8/Cxcl-8 signaling via its Cxcr2 receptor have been linked to bile duct injury. Here, we aimed to investigate whether the intestinal microbiome modulates Cxcr2-dependent bile duct injury and obstruction. Adult wild-type (WT) and Cxcr2-/- mice were fed a diet supplemented with sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (SMZ/TMP) during pregnancy and lactation, and their pups were injected intraperitoneally with rhesus rotavirus (RRV) within 24 hours of life to induce experimental biliary atresia. The maternal exposure to SMZ/TMP significantly lowered the incidence of jaundice and bile duct obstruction and resulted in improved survival, especially in Cxcr2-/- mice. Analyses of the microbiome by deep sequencing of 16S rRNA of the neonatal colon showed a delay in bacterial colonization of WT mice induced by SMZ/TMP, with a notable switch from Proteobacteria to Firmicutes. Interestingly, the genetic inactivation of Cxcr2 alone produced a similar bacterial shift. When treated with SMZ/TMP, Cxcr2-/- mice infected with RRV to induce experimental biliary atresia showed further enrichment of Corynebacterium, Anaerococcus and Streptococcus. Among these, Anaerococcus lactolyticus was significantly associated with a suppression of biliary injury, cholestasis, and survivability. These results suggest that the postnatal development of the intestinal microbiota is an important susceptibility factor for experimental biliary atresia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0182089
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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