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Rapid gastrointestinal loss of Clostridial Clusters IV and XIVa in the ICU associates with an expansion of gut pathogens

Livanos, Alexandra E.; Snider, Erik J.; Whittier, Susan; Chong, David H.; Wang, Timothy Cragin; Abrams, Julian A.; Freedberg, Daniel E.

Commensal gastrointestinal bacteria resist the expansion of pathogens and are lost during critical illness, facilitating pathogen colonization and infection. We performed a prospective, ICU-based study to determine risk factors for loss of gut colonization resistance during the initial period of critical illness. Rectal swabs were taken from adult ICU patients within 4 hours of admission and 72 hours later, and analyzed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and selective culture for vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). Microbiome data was visualized using principal coordinate analyses (PCoA) and assessed using a linear discriminant analysis algorithm and logistic regression modeling. 93 ICU patients were analyzed. At 72 hours following ICU admission, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of Clostridial Clusters IV/XIVa, taxa that produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). At the same time, there was a significant expansion in Enterococcus. Decreases in Cluster IV/XIVa Clostridia were associated with loss of gut microbiome colonization resistance (reduced diversity and community stability over time). In multivariable analysis, both decreased Cluster IV/XIVa Clostridia and increased Enterococcus after 72 hours were associated with receipt of antibiotics. Cluster IV/XIVa Clostridia, although a small fraction of the overall gastrointestinal microbiome, drove distinct clustering on PCoA. During initial treatment for critical illness, there was a loss of Cluster IV/XIVa Clostridia within the distal gut microbiome which associated with an expansion of VRE and with a loss of gut microbiome colonization resistance. Receipt of broad-spectrum antibiotics was associated with these changes.


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Pathology and Cell Biology
Published Here
September 17, 2018