Novel Inter-omic Analysis Reveals Relationships Between Diverse Gut Microbiota and Host Immune Dysregulation in HLA–B27–Induced Experimental Spondyloarthritis

Tejpal Gill, Stephen R. Brooks, James T. Rosenbaum, Mark Asquith, Robert A. Colbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: To define inflammation-related host–microbe interactions in experimental spondyloarthritis (SpA) using novel inter-omic approaches. Methods: The relative frequency of gut microbes was determined by 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequencing, and gene expression using RNA-Seq of host tissue. HLA–B27/human β2-microglobulin–transgenic (HLA–B27–transgenic) and wild-type rats from dark agouti, Lewis, and Fischer backgrounds were used. Inter-omic analyses using Cytoscape were employed to identify relevant relationships. PICRUSt was used to predict microbial functions based on known metagenomic profiles. Results: Inter-omic analysis revealed several gut microbes that were strongly associated with dysregulated cytokines driving inflammatory response pathways, such as interleukin-17 (IL-17), IL-23, IL-17, IL-1, interferon-γ (IFNγ), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Many microbes were uniquely associated with inflammation in Lewis or Fischer rats, and one was relevant on both backgrounds. Several microbes that were strongly correlated with immune dysregulation were not differentially abundant in HLA–B27–transgenic compared to wild-type controls. A multi-omic network analysis revealed non-overlapping clusters of microbes in Lewis and Fischer rats that were strongly linked to overlapping dysregulated immune/inflammatory genes. Prevotella, Clostridiales, and Blautia were important in Lewis rats, while Akkermansia muciniphila and members of the Lachnospiraceae family dominated in Fischer rats. Inflammation-associated metabolic pathway perturbation (e.g., butanoate, propanoate, lipopolysaccharide, and steroid biosynthesis) was also predicted from both backgrounds. Conclusion: Inter-omic and network analysis of gut microbes and the host immune response in experimental SpA provides an unprecedented view of organisms strongly linked to dysregulated IL-23, IL-17, IL-1, IFNγ, and TNF. Functional similarities between these organisms may explain why animals of different genetic backgrounds exhibit common patterns of immune dysregulation, possibly through perturbation of similar metabolic pathways. These results highlight the power of linking analyses of gut microbiota with the host immune response to gain insights into the role of dysbiotic microbes in SpA beyond taxonomic profiling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1849-1857
Number of pages9
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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