Alzheimer's Disease Microbiome Is Associated with Dysregulation of the Anti-Inflammatory P-Glycoprotein Pathway.
MBio. 2019 May 7 ;10(3). Epub 2019 May 7. PMID: 31064831
John P Haran
The microbiota-gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication system that is poorly understood. Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia, has long been associated with bacterial infections and inflammation-causing immunosenescence. Recent studies examining the intestinal microbiota of AD patients revealed that their microbiome differs from that of subjects without dementia. In this work, we prospectively enrolled 108 nursing home elders and followed each for up to 5 months, collecting longitudinal stool samples from which we performed metagenomic sequencing andT84 intestinal epithelial cell functional assays for P-glycoprotein (P-gp) expression, a critical mediator of intestinal homeostasis. Our analysis identified clinical parameters as well as numerous microbial taxa and functional genes that act as predictors of AD dementia in comparison to elders without dementia or with other dementia types. We further demonstrate that stool samples from elders with AD can induce lower P-gp expression levelsthose samples from elders without dementia or with other dementia types. We also paired functional studies with machine learning approaches to identify bacterial species differentiating the microbiome of AD elders from that of elders without dementia, which in turn are accurate predictors of the loss of dysregulation of the P-gp pathway. We observed that the microbiome of AD elders shows a lower proportion and prevalence of bacteria with the potential to synthesize butyrate, as well as higher abundances of taxa that are known to cause proinflammatory states. Therefore, a potential nexus between the intestinal microbiome and AD is the modulation of intestinal homeostasis by increases in inflammatory, and decreases in anti-inflammatory, microbial metabolism.Studies of the intestinal microbiome and AD have demonstrated associations with microbiome composition at the genus level among matched cohorts. We move this body of literature forward by more deeply investigating microbiome composition via metagenomics and by comparing AD patients against those without dementia and with other dementia types. We also exploit machine learning approaches that combine both metagenomic and clinical data. Finally, our functional studies using stool samples from elders demonstrate how the c microbiome of AD elders can affect intestinal health via dysregulation of the P-glycoprotein pathway. P-glycoprotein dysregulation contributes directly to inflammatory disorders of the intestine. Since AD has been long thought to be linked to chronic bacterial infections as a possible etiology, our findings therefore fill a gap in knowledge in the field of AD research by identifying a nexus between the microbiome, loss of intestinal homeostasis, and inflammation that may underlie this neurodegenerative disorder.