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Title: Gut microbiome dysbiosis drives metabolic dysfunction in Familial dysautonomia

Familial dysautonomia (FD) is a rare genetic neurologic disorder caused by impaired neuronal development and progressive degeneration of both the peripheral and central nervous systems. FD is monogenic, with >99.4% of patients sharing an identical point mutation in the elongator acetyltransferase complex subunit 1 (ELP1) gene, providing a relatively simple genetic background in which to identify modifiable factors that influence pathology. Gastrointestinal symptoms and metabolic deficits are common among FD patients, which supports the hypothesis that the gut microbiome and metabolome are altered and dysfunctional compared to healthy individuals. Here we show significant differences in gut microbiome composition (16 S rRNA gene sequencing of stool samples) and NMR-based stool and serum metabolomes between a cohort of FD patients (~14% of patients worldwide) and their cohabitating, healthy relatives. We show that key observations in human subjects are recapitulated in a neuron-specificElp1-deficient mouse model, and that cohousing mutant and littermate control mice ameliorates gut microbiome dysbiosis, improves deficits in gut transit, and reduces disease severity. Our results provide evidence that neurologic deficits in FD alter the structure and function of the gut microbiome, which shifts overall host metabolism to perpetuate further neurodegeneration.

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Publisher / Repository:
Springer Nature
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Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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