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Environ Microbiol. 2008 Mar;10(3):709-15. Epub 2007 Nov 25.

The Toll-like receptors TLR2 and TLR4 do not affect the intestinal microbiota composition in mice.

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German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Department of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, 14558 Nuthetal, Germany.


The interaction between intestinal epithelial cells and microbes is partly mediated by Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Sensing of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria by TLR2 and TLR4, respectively, can result in immune system activation and in an exclusion of bacteria from the intestine. To test the impact of these TLRs on bacterial composition, germ-free TLR2/TLR4 double-knock out mice and the corresponding C57BL/10ScSn wild-type mice where associated with fecal bacteria from one single donor mouse. In addition, C3H/HeOuJ and BALB/c mice were used in this study. Fecal bacteria were monitored over 13 weeks with denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Colonic bacteria were enumerated by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) were measured in caecal samples. No effect of the TLRs on intestinal microbiota composition and SCFA concentrations was observed. However, the microbiota composition as reflected by DGGE band patterns differed between C3H and BALB/c mice on the one hand and C57BL/10 mice on the other hand. Corresponding differences between the mouse strains were also observed in cecal propionic, valeric and i-valeric acid concentrations. No differences between the animals were observed in the numbers of bacteria detected by FISH. We conclude that genetic traits but not TLR2 and TLR4 have an impact on the intestinal microbiota composition.

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