Blacher, E. et al. Potential roles of gut microbiome and metabolites in modulating ALS in mice. Nature 572, 474–480 (2019).
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder, in which the clinical manifestations may be influenced by genetic and unknown environmental factors. Here we show that ALS-prone Sod1 transgenic (Sod1-Tg) mice have a pre-symptomatic, vivarium-dependent dysbiosis and altered metabolite configuration, coupled with an exacerbated disease under germ-free conditions or after treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics. We correlate eleven distinct commensal bacteria at our vivarium with the severity of ALS in mice, and by their individual supplementation into antibiotic-treated Sod1-Tg mice we demonstrate that Akkermansia muciniphila (AM) ameliorates whereas Ruminococcus torques and Parabacteroides distasonis exacerbate the symptoms of ALS. Furthermore, Sod1-Tg mice that are administered AM are found to accumulate AM-associated nicotinamide in the central nervous system, and systemic supplementation of nicotinamide improves motor symptoms and gene expression patterns in the spinal cord of Sod1-Tg mice. In humans, we identify distinct microbiome and metabolite configurations-including reduced levels of nicotinamide systemically and in the cerebrospinal fluid-in a small preliminary study that compares patients with ALS with household controls. We suggest that environmentally driven microbiome-brain interactions may modulate ALS in mice, and we call for similar investigations in the human form of the disease.
Keywords: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Animals, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Disease Models, Animal, Dysbiosis, Female, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Germ-Free Life, Humans, Longevity, Male, Mice, Niacinamide, Superoxide Dismutase-1, Survival Rate, Symbiosis, Verrucomicrobia