Gut eosinophils and their impact on the mucus-resident microbiota

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The gut has the largest commensal bacterial population in the body and its composition can be impacted by host factors such as production of immunoglobulin A (IgA). Eosinophils in the gut have been implicated in the production of antibacterial factors and maintenance of IgA‐secreting plasma cells. We used an eosinophil‐deficient mouse (∆dblGATA‐1−/−) and littermate controls to investigate the role of eosinophils in the regulation of the microbiota, with particular emphasis on mucus‐resident species in the small and large intestine. We found no differences in IgA production or IgA‐expressing plasma cells between naive littermates in the small or large intestine. However, denaturing gel gradient electrophoresis revealed differences in the bacterial communities of the mucus and stools between wild‐type mice and ∆dblGATA‐1−/− mice, with the greatest separation between the mucus microbial communities. Mucus‐resident bacteria in ∆dblGATA‐1−/− mice had reduced diversity in the mucus compared with the stools. A quantitative PCR panel of selected bacteria showed that the most significant differences in the microbiota were between mucus‐resident bacteria and those in stool, such as the abundance of Clostridiales and Bacteroides. Our data implicate eosinophils in the regulation of the microbiota, especially the bacteria most hyperlocal to the gut barrier. Although we see differences between host genotypes in the overall microbial communities, further work is required to establish specifically which bacteria are different between these groups. Most importantly, the data revealed that the mucus and stool microbiota are discrete communities. Stool analysis alone may be insufficient to comprehensively explore and define the role of the gut microbiota in health and disease.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date21 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Co-housing
  • Diversity
  • Gut Barrier
  • Littermate Control
  • Plasma Cells


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