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Mamm Genome. 2015 Jun;26(5-6):222-34. doi: 10.1007/s00335-015-9560-4. Epub 2015 Feb 27.

Cystic fibrosis mouse model-dependent intestinal structure and gut microbiome.

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Meakins-Christie Laboratories, Departments of Medicine and Human Genetics, McGill University, 3626 St. Urbain, Montreal, QC, H2X 2P2, Canada.


Mice with a null mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (Cftr) gene show intestinal structure alterations and bacterial overgrowth. To determine whether these changes are model-dependent and whether the intestinal microbiome is altered in cystic fibrosis (CF) mouse models, we characterized the ileal tissue and intestinal microbiome of mice with the clinically common ΔF508 Cftr mutation (FVB/N Cftr(tm1Eur)) and with Cftr null mutations (BALB/c Cftr(tm1UNC) and C57BL/6 Cftr(tm1UNC)). Intestinal disease in 12-week-old CF mice, relative to wild-type strain controls, was measured histologically. The microbiome was characterized by pyrosequencing of the V4-V6 region of the 16S rRNA gene and intestinal load was measured by RT-PCR of the 16S rRNA gene. The CF-associated increases in ileal crypt to villus axis distention, goblet cell hyperplasia, and muscularis externa thickness were more severe in the BALB/c and C57BL/6 Cftr(tm1UNC) mice than in the FVB/N Cftr(tm1Eur) mice. Intestinal bacterial load was significantly increased in all CF models, compared to levels in controls, and positively correlated with circular muscle thickness in CF, but not wild-type, mice. Microbiome profiling identified Bifidobacterium and groups of Lactobacillus to be of altered abundance in the CF mice but overall bacterial frequencies were not common to the three CF strains and were not correlative of major histological changes. In conclusion, intestinal structure alterations, bacterial overgrowth, and dysbiosis were each more severe in BALB/c and C57BL/6 Cftr(tm1UNC) mice than in the FVB/N Cftr(tm1Eur) mice. The intestinal microbiome differed among the three CF mouse models.

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