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Dis Model Mech. 2015 Jan;8(1):1-16. doi: 10.1242/dmm.017400.

How informative is the mouse for human gut microbiota research?

Author information

1
KU Leuven, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. VIB, Center for the Biology of Disease, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. Microbiology Unit, Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.
2
KU Leuven, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. VIB, Center for the Biology of Disease, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.
3
KU Leuven, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. VIB, Center for the Biology of Disease, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. Microbiology Unit, Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium. jeroen.raes@med.kuleuven.be.

Abstract

The microbiota of the human gut is gaining broad attention owing to its association with a wide range of diseases, ranging from metabolic disorders (e.g. obesity and type 2 diabetes) to autoimmune diseases (such as inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes), cancer and even neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. autism). Having been increasingly used in biomedical research, mice have become the model of choice for most studies in this emerging field. Mouse models allow perturbations in gut microbiota to be studied in a controlled experimental setup, and thus help in assessing causality of the complex host-microbiota interactions and in developing mechanistic hypotheses. However, pitfalls should be considered when translating gut microbiome research results from mouse models to humans. In this Special Article, we discuss the intrinsic similarities and differences that exist between the two systems, and compare the human and murine core gut microbiota based on a meta-analysis of currently available datasets. Finally, we discuss the external factors that influence the capability of mouse models to recapitulate the gut microbiota shifts associated with human diseases, and investigate which alternative model systems exist for gut microbiota research.

KEYWORDS:

Gut microbiota; Humanized mouse models; Mouse core gut microbiota; Mouse models; Mouse pan-gut microbiota

PMID:
25561744
PMCID:
PMC4283646
DOI:
10.1242/dmm.017400
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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