Traumatic brain injury in mice induces acute bacterial dysbiosis within the fecal microbiome

Todd J. Treangen, Justin Wagner, Mark P. Burns, Sonia Villapol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The secondary injury cascade that is activated following traumatic brain injury (TBI) induces responses from multiple physiological systems, including the immune system. These responses are not limited to the area of brain injury; they can also alter peripheral organs such as the intestinal tract. Gut microbiota play a role in the regulation of immune cell populations and microglia activation, and microbiome dysbiosis is implicated in immune dysregulation and behavioral abnormalities. However, changes to the gut microbiome induced after acute TBI remains largely unexplored. In this study, we have investigated the impact of TBI on bacterial dysbiosis. To test the hypothesis that TBI results in changes in microbiome composition, we performed controlled cortical impact (CCI) or sham injury in male 9-weeks old C57BL/6J mice. Fresh stool pellets were collected at baseline and at 24 h post-CCI. 16S rRNA based microbiome analysis was performed to identify differential abundance in bacteria at the genus and species level. In all baseline vs. 24 h post-CCI samples, we evaluated species-level differential abundances via clustered and annotated operational taxonomic units (OTU). At a high-level view, we observed significant changes in two genera after TBI, Marvinbryantia, and Clostridiales. At the species-level, we found significant decreases in three species (Lactobacillus gasseri, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, and Eubacterium ventriosum), and significant increases in two additional species (Eubacterium sulci, and Marvinbryantia formatexigens). These results pinpoint critical changes in the genus-level and species-level microbiome composition in injured mice compared to baseline; highlighting a previously unreported acute dysbiosis in the microbiome after TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2757
Pages (from-to)2757
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - Nov 27 2018


  • Bacterial dysbiosis
  • Brain damage
  • Controlled cortical impact injury
  • Gut microbes
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Lactobacillus
  • Microbiome
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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