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Altered microbial community structure and metabolism in cows milk allergic mice treated with oral immunotherapy and fructo-oligosaccharides

Vonk, M;Engen, P;Naqib, A;Green, S;Keshavarzian, A;Blokhuis, B;Garssen, J;Knippels, L;van Esch, B;

Previously, we showed enhanced efficacy of oral immunotherapy (OIT) using fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS, prebiotics) added to the diet of cows milk allergic mice indicated by a reduction in clinical symptoms and mast cell degranulation. Prebiotics are fermented by gut bacteria, affecting both bacterial composition and availability of metabolites (i.e. short-chain fatty acids (SCFA)). It is thus far unknown which microbial alterations are involved in successful outcomes of OIT with prebiotic supplementation for the treatment of food allergy. To explore potential changes in the microbiota composition and availability of SCFA induced by OIT+FOS. C3H/HeOuJ mice were sensitised and received OIT with or without a FOS supplemented diet. After three weeks, faecal samples were collected to analyse gut microbiota composition using 16S rRNA sequencing. SCFA concentrations were determined in cecum content. FOS supplementation in sensitised mice changed the overall microbial community structure in faecal samples compared to sensitised mice fed the control diet (P=0.03). In contrast, a high level of resemblance in bacterial community structure was observed between the non-sensitised control mice and the OIT+FOS treated mice. OIT mice showed an increased relative abundance of the dysbiosis-associated phylum Proteobacteria compared to the OIT+FOS mice. FOS supplementation increased the relative abundance of genus Allobaculum (Firmicutes), putative butyrate-producing bacteria. OIT+FOS reduced the abundances of the generas unclassified Rikenellaceae (Bacteroidetes, putative pro-inflammatory bacteria) and unclassified Clostridiales (Firmicutes) compared to sensitised controls and increased the abundance of Lactobacillus (Firmicutes, putative beneficial bacteria) compared to FOS. OIT+FOS mice had increased butyric acid and propionic acid concentrations. OIT+FOS induced a microbial profile closely linked to non-allergic mice and increased concentrations of butyric acid and propionic acid. Future research should confirm whether there is a causal relationship between microbial modulation and the reduction in acute allergic symptoms induced by OIT+FOS.