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Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Eliminates Clostridium difficile in a Murine Model of Relapsing Disease

Seekatz, AM;Theriot, CM;Molloy, CT;Wozniak, KL;Bergin, IL;Young, VB;

Recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is of particular concern among health care-associated infections. The role of the microbiota in disease recovery is apparent given the success of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for recurrent CDI. Here, we present a murine model of CDI relapse to further define the microbiota recovery following FMT. Cefoperazone-treated mice were infected with C. difficile 630 spores and treated with vancomycin after development of clinical disease. Vancomycin treatment suppressed both C. difficile colonization and cytotoxin titers. However, C. difficile counts increased within 7 days of completing treatment, accompanied by relapse of clinical signs. The administration of FMT immediately after vancomycin cleared C. difficile and decreased cytotoxicity within 1 week. The effects of FMT on the gut microbiota community were detectable in recipients 1-day posttransplant. Conversely, mice not treated with FMT remained persistently colonized with high levels of C. difficile, and the gut microbiota in these mice persisted at low diversity. These results suggest that full recovery of colonization resistance against C. difficile requires the restoration of a specific community structure.