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Benef Microbes. 2013 Sep;4(3):253-66. doi: 10.3920/BM2012.0047.

Increased bacterial putrescine has no impact on gut morphology and physiology in gnotobiotic adolescent mice.

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Department of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114-116, 14558 Nuthetal, Germany.


Gut bacteria influence host anatomy and physiology. It has been proposed that bacterial metabolites including polyamines are responsible for intestinal maturation and mucosal growth. We have hypothesised that bacterially produced polyamines act as trophic factors and thereby influence large intestinal crypt depth and thickness of the different gut layers. For that purpose, germ-free mice were associated with two different microbial consortia. One group was colonised with a simplified human microbiota (SIHUMI). The second group was associated with SIHUMI + Fusobacterium varium (SIHUMI + Fv), which is known to produce high amounts of polyamines. Polyamine concentrations were measured by HPLC and morphological parameters were determined microscopically. Germ-free and conventional mice served as controls. The caecal putrescine concentration of the SIHUMI + Fv was 61.8 μM (47.6-75.5 μM), whereas that of conventional and SIHUMI mice was 28.8 μM (1.3-41.7 μM) and 24.5 μM (16.8-29.1 μM), respectively. The caecal putrescine concentration of germ-free mice was only 0.6 μM (0-1.0 μM). Caecal crypt depth and thickness of the different caecal layers revealed no significant differences between SIHUMI and SIHUMI + Fv mice. However, the crypt depth in the caeca of conventional, SIHUMI and SIHUMI + Fv mice was increased by 48.6% (P<0.001), 39.7% (P<0.001) and 28.5% (P<0.05), respectively, compared to germ-free mice. These findings indicate that increased intestinal putrescine concentrations do not influence gut morphology in our gnotobiotic adolescent mice.

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