6 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, are caused in part by aberrant immune responses to resident intestinal bacteria. Certain dietary components, including carbohydrates, are associated with IBDs and alter intestinal bacterial composition. However, the effects of luminal carbohydrates on the composition and colitogenic potential of intestinal bacteria are incompletely understood. We hypothesize that carbohydrate metabolism by resident proinflammatory intestinal bacteria enhances their growth and worsens intestinal inflammation. Methods: We colonized germ-free, wild-type, and colitis-susceptible interleukin-10 knockout mice (Il10-/-) with a consortium of resident intestinal bacterial strains and quantified colon inflammation using blinded histologic scoring and spontaneous secretion of IL12/23p40 by colon explants. We measured luminal bacterial composition using real-time 16S polymerase chain reaction, bacterial gene expression using RNA sequencing and real-time polymerase chain reaction, and luminal glucosamine levels using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Results: We show that a consortium of 8 bacterial strains induces severe colitis in Il10-/- mice and up-regulates genes associated with carbohydrate metabolism during colitis. Specifically, Enterococcus faecalis strain OG1RF is proinflammatory and strongly up-regulates OG1RF_11616-11610, an operon that encodes genes of a previously undescribed phosphotransferase system that we show imports glucosamine. Experimental colitis is associated with increased levels of luminal glucosamine and OG1RF_11616 causes worse colitis, not by increasing E faecalis numbers, but rather by mechanisms that require the presence of complex microbiota. Conclusions: Further studies of luminal carbohydrate levels and bacterial carbohydrate metabolism during intestinal inflammation will improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of IBDs and may lead to the development of novel therapies for these diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1389
Number of pages17
JournalCellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Gene Expression
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • Phosphotransferase System


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