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Inhibition of spore germination, growth, and toxin activity of clinically relevant C.difficile strains by gut microbiota derived secondary bile acids

Thanissery, R;Winston, JA;Theriot, CM;

The changing epidemiology of Clostridium difficile infection over the past decades presents a significant challenge in the management of C. difficile associated diseases. The gastrointestinal tract microbiota provides colonization resistance against C. difficile, and growing evidence suggests that gut microbial derived secondary bile acids (SBAs) play a role. We hypothesized that the C. difficile life cycle; spore germination and outgrowth, growth, and toxin production, of strains that vary by age and ribotype will differ in their sensitivity to SBAs. C. difficile strains R20291 and CD196 (ribotype 027), M68 and CF5 (017), 630 (012), BI9 (001) and M120 (078) were used to define taurocholate (TCA) mediated spore germination and outgrowth, growth, and toxin activity in the absence and presence of gut microbial derived SBAs (deoxycholate, isodeoxycholate, lithocholate, isolithocholate, ursodeoxycholate, -muricholate, and hyodeoxycholate) found in the human and mouse large intestine. C. difficile strains varied in their rates of germination, growth kinetics, and toxin activity without the addition of SBAs. C. difficile M120, a highly divergent strain, had robust germination, growth, but significantly lower toxin activity compared to other strains. Many SBAs were able to inhibit TCA mediated spore germination and outgrowth, growth, and toxin activity in a dose dependent manner, but the level of inhibition and resistance varied across all strains and ribotypes. This study illustrates how clinically relevant C. difficile strains can have different responses when exposed to SBAs present in the gastrointestinal tract.