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Response of the gut microbiota during the Clostridioides difficile infection in tree shrews mimics those in humans

Gu, W;Li, W;Wang, W;Kuang, D;Zhang, W;Lu, C;Li, N;Tong, P;Han, Y;Sun, X;Lu, J;Wu, Y;Dai, J;

Clostridioides difficile is a major cause of antibiotic associated diarrhea. Several animal models are used to study C. difficile infection (CDI). The tree shrew has recently been developed as a model of primate processes. C. difficile infection has not been examined in tree shrews. We infected tree shrews with hyper-virulent C. difficile strains and examined the alterations in gut microbiota using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. C. difficile colonized the gastrointestinal tract of tree shrew and caused diarrhea and weight loss. Histopathologic examination indicated structures and mucosal cell destruction in ileal and colonic tissues. The gut microbial community was highly diversity before infection and was dominated by Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria. Antibiotic administration decreased the diversity of the gut microbiota and led to an outgrowth of Lactobacillus. The relative abundance of Proteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Enterobacteriales, Lachnospiraceae, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia, Blautia, and Tyzzerella increased following C. difficile infection. These taxa could be biomarkers for C. difficile colonization. In general, the disease symptoms, histopathology, and gut microbiota changes following C. difficile infection in tree shrews were similar to those observed in humans.