Sex-related alterations of gut microbiota composition in the BTBR mouse model of autism spectrum disorder.
Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 28 ;7:45356. Epub 2017 Mar 28. PMID: 28349974
Alterations of microbiota-gut-brain axis have been invoked in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Mouse models could represent an excellent tool to understand how gut dysbiosis and related alterations may contribute to autistic phenotype. In this study we paralleled gut microbiota (GM) profiles, behavioral characteristics, intestinal integrity and immunological features of colon tissues in BTBR T + tf/J (BTBR) inbred mice, a well established animal model of ASD. Sex differences, up to date poorly investigated in animal models, were specifically addressed. Results showed that BTBR mice of both sexes presented a marked intestinal dysbiosis, alterations of behavior, gut permeability and immunological state with respect to prosocial C57BL/6j (C57) strain. Noticeably, sex-related differences were clearly detected. We identified Bacteroides, Parabacteroides, Sutterella, Dehalobacterium and Oscillospira genera as key drivers of sex-specific gut microbiota profiles associated with selected pathological traits. Taken together, our findings indicate that alteration of GM in BTBR mice shows relevant sex-associated differences and supports the use of BTBR mouse model to dissect autism associated microbiota-gut-brain axis alteration.