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Ram Prasad, Bright Asare-Bediko, Angela Harbour, Jason L Floyd, Dibyendu Chakraborty, Yaqian Duan, Regina Lamendella, Justin Wright, Maria B. Grant; Microbial Signatures in The Rodent Eyes With Retinal Dysfunction and Diabetic Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(1):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.63.1.5.
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The gut microbiome has been linked to disease pathogenesis through their interaction in metabolic, endocrine, and immune functions. The goal of this study was to determine whether the gut and plasma microbiota could transfer microbes to the retina in type 1 diabetic mice with retinopathy.
We analyzed the fecal, plasma, whole globe, and retina microbiome in Akita mice and compared with age-matched wild-type (WT) mice using 16S rRNA sequencing and metatranscriptomic analysis. To eliminate the contribution of the ocular surface and plasma microbiome, mice were perfused with sterile saline solution, the whole globes were extracted, and the neural retina was removed under sterile conditions for retinal microbiome.
Our microbiome analysis revealed that Akita mice demonstrated a distinct pattern of microbes within each source: feces, plasma, whole globes, and retina. WT mice and Akita mice experienced transient bacteremia in the plasma and retina. Bacteria were identified in the retina of the Akita mice, specifically Corynebacterium, Pseudomonas, Lactobacillus, Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, and Bacillus. Significantly increased levels of peptidoglycan (0.036 ± 0.001 vs. 0.023 ± 0.002; P < 0.002) and TLR2 (3.47 ± 0.15 vs. 1.99 ± 0.07; P < 0.0001) were observed in the retina of Akita mice compared to WT. Increased IBA+ cells in the retina, reduced a- and b-waves on electroretinography, and increased acellular capillary formation demonstrated the presence of retinopathy in the Akita cohort compared to WT mice.
Together, our findings suggest that transient bacteremia exists in the plasma and retina of both cohorts. The bacteria found in Akita mice are distinct from WT mice and may contribute to development of retinal inflammation and barrier dysfunction in retinopathy.
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