Antibiotic-associated Manipulation of the Gut Microbiota and Phenotypic Restoration in NOD Mice.
Segmented filamentous bacterium (SFB) a gram-positive, anaerobic, and intestinal commensal organism directly influences the development of Th17 helper cells in the small intestine of mice. In NOD mice, SFB colonization interferes with the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D), a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease, suggesting that SFB may influence Th17 cells to inhibit Th1 populations associated with the anti-β-cell immune response. This effect is a serious concern for investigators who use NOD mice for diabetes research because the expected incidence of disease decreases markedly when they are colonized by SFB. A room housing mice for T1D studies at The Jackson Laboratory was determined by fecal PCR testing to have widespread SFB colonization of multiple NOD strains after a steady decline in the incidence of T1D was noted. Rederivation of all NOD-related mouse strains was not feasible; therefore an alternative treatment using antibiotics to eliminate SFB from colonized mice was undertaken. After antibiotic treatment, soiled bedding from NOD mouse strains housed in SFB-free high-health-status production barrier rooms was used to reintroduce the gastrointestinal microbiota. Over the past 16 mo since treating the mice and disinfecting the mouse room, regular PCR testing has shown that no additional SFB colonization of mice has occurred, and the expected incidence of T1D has been reestablished in the offspring of treated mice. Comp Med 2017 Aug; 67(4):335-343.