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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 892568, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/892568
Research Article

Alterations of the Murine Gut Microbiome with Age and Allergic Airway Disease

1Center for Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), 38124 Braunschweig, Germany
3Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
4Institute of Functional and Applied Anatomy, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany

Received 3 February 2015; Accepted 16 April 2015

Academic Editor: Hiroshi Nakajima

Copyright © 2015 Marius Vital et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The gut microbiota plays an important role in the development of asthma. With advanced age the microbiome and the immune system are changing and, currently, little is known about how these two factors contribute to the development of allergic asthma in the elderly. In this study we investigated the associations between the intestinal microbiome and allergic airway disease in young and old mice that were sensitized and challenged with house dust mite (HDM). After challenge, the animals were sacrificed, blood serum was collected for cytokine analysis, and the lungs were processed for histopathology. Fecal pellets were excised from the colon and subjected to 16S rRNA analysis. The microbial community structure changed with age and allergy development, where alterations in fecal communities from young to old mice resembled those after HDM challenge. Allergic mice had induced serum levels of IL-17A and old mice developed a greater allergic airway response compared to young mice. This study demonstrates that the intestinal bacterial community structure differs with age, possibly contributing to the exaggerated pulmonary inflammatory response in old mice. Furthermore, our results show that the composition of the gut microbiota changes with pulmonary allergy, indicating bidirectional gut-lung communications.