Asthma, a serious health problem worldwide, is growing more common. The colonization of Helicobacter pylori, a major human indigenous (commensal) microbe that is present early in life may be relevant to childhood asthma risk.
We conducted cross-sectional analyses using data from 7,412 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) 1999–2000 to assess the association between H. pylori and childhood asthma.
H. pylori seropositivity was inversely associated with early-onset asthma (onset age < 5 years) and current asthma in children 3–13 years. Among participants 3–19 years of age, the presence of H. pylori was inversely related to ever having asthma (OR = 0.69; 95% CI = 0.45–1.06), and the inverse association with early childhood-onset (
This study is the first to report an inverse association of H. pylori with asthma in children. The findings indicate new directions for research and asthma prevention.
Helicobacter pylori; epidemiology; asthma; cross-sectional study
Background. Diabetic foot infections are a leading cause of lower extremity amputations. Our study examines the microbiota of diabetic skin prior to ulcer development or infection.
Methods. In a case-control study, outpatient males were recruited at a veterans hospital. Subjects were swabbed at 4 cutaneous sites, 1 on the forearm and 3 on the foot. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with primers and probes specific for bacteria, Staphylococcus species, Staphylococcus aureus, and fungi were performed on all samples. High-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing was performed on samples from the forearm and the plantar aspect of the foot.
Results. qPCR analysis of swab specimens from 30 diabetic subjects and 30 control subjects showed no differences in total numbers of bacteria or fungi at any sampled site. Increased log10 concentrations of Staphylococcus aureus, quantified by the number of nuc gene copies, were present in diabetic men on the plantar aspect of the foot. High-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing found that, on the foot, the microbiota in controls (n = 24) was dominated by Staphylococcus species, whereas the microbiota in diabetics (n = 23) was more diverse at the genus level. The forearm microbiota had similar diversity in diabetic and control groups.
Conclusions. The feet of diabetic men had decreased populations of Staphylococcus species, increased populations of S. aureus, and increased bacterial diversity, compared with the feet of controls. These ecologic changes may affect the risk for wound infections.
microbiota; microbiome; diabetic foot; cutaneous; Staphylococcus; Staphylococcus aureus
Featured Article: Blaser MJ, Perez-Perez GI, Kleanthous H, Cover TL, Peek RM, Chyou PH, et al. Infection with Helicobacter pylori strains possessing cagA is associated with an increased risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the stomach.
immunology; microbiology; gastric physiology; stomach; inflammation
The human skin harbors complex bacterial communities. Prior studies showing high inter-individual variation focused on subjects from developed countries. We therefore compared cutaneous bacterial communities of Amerindians in the Venezuelan Amazon with subjects in the United States. Forearm skin specimens were studied from healthy Amerindians in Platanillal village in Amazonas State, and from healthy persons in New York and Colorado. All skin sampling used similar swab/buffer techniques. Multiplexed V2-targeted 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing yielded high quality sequences from 112 samples. The results show 20 phyla, with three (Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria) predominating. US residents and Venezuelan Amerindians had significantly different forearm skin bacterial community compositions, with United States dominated by Propionibacterium. Among the Amerindians, there was a deep split based on bacterial community membership, with 30 and 42 samples, respectively, falling into each of the two groups, not associated with age, gender, or body mass index. One Amerindian group had diversity similar to the United States, but was dominated by Staphylococcus rather than Propionibacterium. The other Amerindian group was significantly more diverse and even than the US or the other Amerindian group, and featured a broad range of Proteobacteria. The results provide evidence that ethnicity, lifestyle and/or geography are associated with the structure of human cutaneous bacterial communities.
microbiome; cutaneous; microbial diversity; human; genetics
Campylobacter fetus subsp. testudinum has been isolated from reptiles and humans. This Campylobacter subspecies is genetically distinct from other C. fetus subspecies. Here, we present the first whole-genome sequence for this C. fetus subspecies.
It is becoming increasingly clear that our residential microbes, the key constituents in the human microbiome, are centrally involved in many aspects of our physiology. In particular, the ancient and dominant gastric bacteria Helicobacter pylori are highly interactive with human physiology. In modern times, H. pylori has been disappearing, which consequently affects the interactions between luminal bacteria and epithelial, lymphoid, and neuroendocrine cells. A growing body of evidence indicates that H. pylori protects against childhood-onset asthma, probably through the gastric recruitment of regulatory T cells. The phenomenon of disappearing ancient microbiota may be a general paradigm driving the diseases of modernity.
allergy; T cells; Helicobacter pylori; microbiota; immunity
Campylobacter fetus subsp. testudinum subsp. nov. is a newly proposed subspecies of C. fetus with markers of reptile origin. We summarize epidemiologic information for 9 humans infected with this bacterium. All cases were in men, most of whom were of Asian origin. Infection might have been related to exposure to Asian foods or reptiles.
Campylobacter fetus; C. fetus subsp. fetus; C. fetus subsp. venerealis; C. fetus subsp. testudinum subsp. nov.; bacteria; reptiles; epidemiology; foodborne infections; human infections
Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the skin. We sought to use bacterial community abundance data to assess the feasibility of developing multivariate molecular signatures for differentiation of cutaneous psoriatic lesions, clinically unaffected contralateral skin from psoriatic patients, and similar cutaneous loci in matched healthy control subjects. Using 16S rRNA high-throughput DNA sequencing, we assayed the cutaneous microbiome for 51 such matched specimen triplets including subjects of both genders, different age groups, ethnicities and multiple body sites. None of the subjects had recently received relevant treatments or antibiotics. We found that molecular signatures for the diagnosis of psoriasis result in significant accuracy ranging from 0.75 to 0.89 AUC, depending on the classification task. We also found a significant effect of DNA sequencing and downstream analysis protocols on the accuracy of molecular signatures. Our results demonstrate that it is feasible to develop accurate molecular signatures for the diagnosis of psoriasis from microbiomic data.
The microbial communities that reside within the intestinal tract in vertebrates are complex and dynamic. In this report, we establish the utility of Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system for identifying the factors that contribute to bacterial persistence and for host control of gut luminal populations. We found that for N2 worms grown on mixed lawns of bacteria, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium substantially outcompeted Escherichia coli, even when E. coli was initially present at 100-fold-higher concentrations. To address whether innate immunity affects the competition, the daf-2 and daf-16 mutants were studied; their total gut bacterial levels reflect overall capacity for colonization, but Salmonella outcompeted E. coli to an extent similar to wild-type worms. To address the role of virulence properties, Salmonella Δspi-1 Δspi-2 was used to compete with E. coli. The net differential was significantly less than that for wild-type Salmonella; thus, spi-1 spi-2 encodes C. elegans colonization factors. An E. coli strain with repeated in vivo passage had an enhanced ability to compete against an in vitro-passed E. coli strain and against Salmonella. Our data provide evidence of active competition for colonization niches in the C. elegans gut, as determined by bacterial factors and subject to in vivo selection.
The intestinal microbiota has been proposed to play a pathogenic role in coeliac disease (CD). Although antibiotics are common environmental factors with a profound impact on intestinal microbiota, data on antibiotic use as a risk factor for subsequent CD development are scarce.
In this population-based case–control study we linked nationwide histopathology data on 2,933 individuals with CD (Marsh stage 3; villous atrophy) to the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register to examine the association between use of systemic antibiotics and subsequent CD. We also examined the association between antibiotic use in 2,118 individuals with inflammation (Marsh 1–2) and in 620 individuals with normal mucosa (Marsh 0) but positive CD serology. All individuals undergoing biopsy were matched for age and sex with 28,262 controls from the population.
Antibiotic use was associated with CD (Odds ratio [OR] = 1.40; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.27-1.53), inflammation (OR = 1.90; 95% CI = 1.72–2.10) and normal mucosa with positive CD serology (OR = 1.58; 95% CI = 1.30–1.92). ORs for prior antibiotic use in CD were similar when we excluded antibiotic use in the last year (OR = 1.30; 95% CI = 1.08-1.56) or restricted to individuals without comorbidity (OR = 1.30; 95% CI = 1.16 – 1.46).
The positive association between antibiotic use and subsequent CD but also with lesions that may represent early CD suggests that intestinal dysbiosis may play a role in the pathogenesis of CD. However, non-causal explanations for this positive association cannot be excluded.
Celiac; Inflammation; Microbiota; Population-based case–control study
The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in Western populations has steadily decreased. This has been suggested as one of the factors involved in the recent increase of asthma and allergy. Some studies have reported a negative association between H.pylori and asthma and allergy, but data are inconsistent and there are a few studies in children.
We investigated whether the prevalence of H.pylori was associated with asthma symptoms, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis in childhood.
We determined IgG anti-H.pylori and CagA antibodies in serum of Dutch children, who took part in the PIAMA birth cohort study. Serum was collected from 545 children, aged 7–9 yrs (Dutch ethnicity 91.5%). Symptoms of asthma and atopy were assessed by yearly questionnaires. Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used.
We found 9% H.pylori and 0.9% CagA seropositivity. Twelve (5.9%) children with reported wheezing ever were H.pylori positive, compared to 37 (10.9%) of the non-wheezers (p=0.05). No significant differences in H.pylori prevalence were found between children with or without allergic rhinitis (8.5% vs. 9.5%), atopic dermatitis (8.7% vs. 9.2%), and physician-diagnosed asthma (7.1% vs. 9.4%). Multivariate analysis showed no significant associations between H.pylori seropositivity and wheezing (OR 0.52; 95% CI 0.25–1.06), allergic rhinitis (OR 0.96; 95% CI 0.51–1.81), atopic dermatitis (OR 1.05; 95% CI 0.56–1.98) or physician-diagnosed asthma (OR 0.87; 95% CI 0.37–2.08).
We found a borderline significantly lower H.pylori seropositivity in children with wheezing compared to non-wheezers, but no association between H.pylori serum-antibody status and allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, or asthma.
Helicobacter pylori; children; asthma; wheezing; atopy; disappearing microbiota hypothesis
The birth canal provides mammals with a primary maternal inoculum, which develops into distinctive body site-specific microbial communities post-natally. We characterized the distal gut microbiota from birth to weaning in mice. One-day-old mice had colonic microbiota that resembled maternal vaginal communities, but at days 3 and 9 of age there was a substantial loss of intestinal bacterial diversity and dominance of Lactobacillus. By weaning (21 days), diverse intestinal bacteria had established, including strict anaerobes. Our results are consistent with vertical transmission of maternal microbiota and demonstrate a nonlinear ecological succession involving an early drop in bacterial diversity and shift in dominance from Streptococcus to Lactobacillus, followed by an increase in diversity of anaerobes, after the introduction of solid food. Mammalian newborns are born highly susceptible to colonization, and lactation may control microbiome assembly during early development.
community structure; intestinal microbiota; mammal development
(See the editorial commentary by Cohen and Muhsen, on pages 1183–5.)
Background. Few studies have evaluated the potential influence of Helicobacter pylori on biomarkers for diabetes.
Methods. We conducted cross-sectional analyses using data from 7417 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III (aged ≥18 years) and 6072 participants in NHANES 1999–2000 (aged ≥3 years) to assess the association between H. pylori and levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c).
Results. There was no association between H. pylori and history of self-reported diabetes. Helicobacter pylori seropositivity, especially H. pylori cagA positivity, was positively associated (P < .01, NHANES III; P = .02, NHANES 1999–2000) with HbA1c levels after excluding individuals with history of diabetes and controlling for potential confounders. There was also a synergistic interaction between H. pylori and higher body mass index (BMI), such that increased levels of HbA1c associated with having both H. pylori and higher BMI were greater than the sum of their individual effects (P for interaction < .01). This interaction was observed consistently in both NHANES III and NHANES 1999–2000 and for H. pylori cagA positivity in NHANES III.
Conclusions. The findings indicate a role of H. pylori in impaired glucose tolerance in adults that may be potentiated by higher BMI level.
Recent advances in next-generation DNA sequencing enable rapid high-throughput quantitation of microbial community composition in human samples, opening up a new field of microbiomics. One of the promises of this field is linking abundances of microbial taxa to phenotypic and physiological states, which can inform development of new diagnostic, personalized medicine, and forensic modalities. Prior research has demonstrated the feasibility of applying machine learning methods to perform body site and subject classification with microbiomic data. However, it is currently unknown which classifiers perform best among the many available alternatives for classification with microbiomic data.
In this work, we performed a systematic comparison of 18 major classification methods, 5 feature selection methods, and 2 accuracy metrics using 8 datasets spanning 1,802 human samples and various classification tasks: body site and subject classification and diagnosis.
We found that random forests, support vector machines, kernel ridge regression, and Bayesian logistic regression with Laplace priors are the most effective machine learning techniques for performing accurate classification from these microbiomic data.
Microbiomic data; Machine learning; Classification; Feature selection
Antibiotics administered in low doses have been widely used as growth promoters in the agricultural industry since the 1950s, yet the mechanisms for this effect are unclear. Because antimicrobial agents of different classes and varying activity are effective across several vertebrate species, we hypothesized that such subtherapeutic administration alters the population structure of the gut microbiome as well as its metabolic capabilities. We generated a model of adiposity by giving subtherapeutic antibiotic therapy to young mice and evaluated changes in the composition and capabilities of the gut microbiome. Administration of subtherapeutic antibiotic therapy increased adiposity in young mice and increased hormones related to metabolism. We observed substantial taxonomic changes in the microbiome, changes in copies of key genes involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates to short-chain fatty acids, increases in colonic short-chain fatty acid levels, and alterations in the regulation of hepatic metabolism of lipids and cholesterol. In this model, we demonstrate the alteration of early-life murine metabolic homeostasis through antibiotic manipulation.
Although recent studies have suggested that tooth loss is positively related to the risk of gastric non-cardia cancer, the underlying oral health conditions potentially responsible for the association remain unknown. We investigated whether clinical and behavioral measures of oral health are associated with the risk of gastric precancerous lesions. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 131 patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Cases were defined as those with gastric precancerous lesions including intestinal metaplasia or chronic atrophic gastritis on the basis of standard biopsy review. A validated structured questionnaire was administered to obtain information on oral health behaviors. A comprehensive clinical oral health examination was performed on a subset of 91 patients to evaluate for periodontal disease and dental caries experience. A total of 41 (31%) cases of gastric precancerous lesions were identified. Compared with non-cases, cases were significantly more likely to not floss their teeth [odds ratio (OR) = 2.89, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09–7.64], adjusting for age, sex, race, body mass index, smoking status, educational attainment and Helicobacter pylori status in serum. Among participants who completed the oral examination, cases (n = 28) were more likely to have a higher percentage of sites with gingival bleeding than non-cases [OR = 2.63, 95% CI: 1.37–5.05 for a standard deviation increase in bleeding sites (equivalent to 19.7%)], independent of potential confounders. Our findings demonstrate that specific oral health conditions and behaviors such as gingival bleeding and tooth flossing are associated with gastric precancerous lesions.
For naturally competent microorganisms, such as Helicobacter pylori, the steps that permit recombination of exogenous DNA are not fully understood. Immediately downstream of an H. pylori gene (dprA) that facilitates high-frequency natural transformation is HP0334 (dprB), annotated to be a putative Holliday junction resolvase (HJR). We showed that the HP0334 (dprB) gene product facilitates high-frequency natural transformation. We determined the physiologic roles of DprB by genetic analyses. DprB controls in vitro growth, survival after exposure to UV or fluoroquinolones, and intragenomic recombination. dprB ruvC double deletion dramatically decreases both homologous and homeologous transformation and survival after exposure to DNA-damaging agents. Moreover, the DprB protein binds to synthetic Holliday junction structures rather than double-stranded or single-stranded DNA. These results demonstrate that the dprB product plays important roles affecting inter- and intragenomic recombination. We provide evidence that the two putative H. pylori HJRs (DprB and RuvC) have overlapping but distinct functions involving intergenomic (primarily DprB) and intragenomic (primarily RuvC) recombination.
Restriction-modification (RM) systems are important for bacteria to limit foreign DNA invasion. The naturally competent bacterium Helicobacter pylori has highly diverse strain-specific type II systems. To evaluate the roles of strain-specific restriction in H. pylori natural transformation, a markerless type II restriction endonuclease-deficient (REd) mutant was constructed. We deleted the genes encoding all four active type II restriction endonucleases in H. pylori strain 26695 using sacB-mediated counterselection. Transformation by donor DNA with exogenous cassettes methylated by Escherichia coli was substantially (1.7 and 2.0 log10 for cat and aphA, respectively) increased in the REd strain. There also was significantly increased transformation of the REd strain by donor DNA from other H. pylori strains, to an extent corresponding to their shared type II R-M system strain specificity with 26695. Comparison of the REd and wild-type strains indicates that restriction did not affect the length of DNA fragment integration during natural transformation. There also were no differentials in cell growth or susceptibility to DNA damage. In total, the data indicate that the type II REd mutant has enhanced competence with no loss of growth or repair facility compared to the wild type, facilitating H. pylori mutant construction and other genetic engineering.
Helicobacter pylori is a persistent colonizer of the human gastric mucosa, which can lead to the development peptic ulcer disease and gastric adenocarcinomas. However, H. pylori can asymptomatically colonize a host for years. One factor that has been hypothesized to contribute to such persistence is the production of Lewis (Le) antigens in the lipopolysaccharide layer of the bacterial outer membrane as a form of molecular mimicry, since humans also express these antigens on their gastric mucosa. Humans and H. pylori both are polymorphic for Le expression, which is driven in H. pylori by variation at the Le synthesis loci. In this report we sought to characterize Le genotypic and phenotypic variation in geographically diverse H. pylori isolates.
Materials and Methods
From patients undergoing endoscopy in 29 countries, we determined Le phenotypes of 78 H. pylori strains, and performed genotyping of the galT and β-(1,3)galT loci in 113 H. pylori strains.
Le antigen phenotyping revealed a significant (p <0.0001) association between type 1 (Lea and Leb) expression and strains of East-Asian origin. Genotyping revealed a significant correlation between strain origin and the size of the promoter region upstream of the Le synthesis gene, galT (p <0.0001).
These results indicate that the heterogeneity of human Le phenotypes are reflected in their H. pylori colonizing strains, and suggest new loci that can be studied to assess variation of Le expression.
Current knowledge is insufficient to explain why only a proportion of individuals exposed to environmental carcinogens or carrying a genetic predisposition to cancer develop disease. Clearly, other factors must be important and one such element that has recently received attention is the human microbiome, the residential microbes including Bacteria, Archaea, Eukaryotes, and viruses that colonize humans. Here, we review principles and paradigms of microbiome-related malignancy, as illustrated by three specific microbial-host interactions. We review the effects of the microbiota on local and adjacent-neoplasia, present the estrobolome model of distant effects, and discuss the complex interactions with a latent virus leading to malignancy. These are separate facets of a complex biology interfacing all the microbial species we harbor from birth onward toward early reproductive success and eventual senescence.
Lewis (Le) antigens are fucosylated oligosaccharides present in the Helicobacter pylori lipopolysaccharide. Expression of these antigens is believed to be important for H. pylori colonization, since Le antigens also are expressed on the gastric epithelia in humans. A galactosyltransferase encoded by β-(1,3)galT is essential for production of type 1 (Lea and Leb) antigens. The upstream gene jhp0562, which is present in many but not all H. pylori strains, is homologous to β-(1,3)galT but is of unknown function. Because H. pylori demonstrates extensive intragenomic recombination, we hypothesized that these two genes could undergo DNA rearrangement. A PCR screen and subsequent sequence analyses revealed that the two genes can recombine at both the 5′ and 3′ ends. Chimeric β-(1,3)galT-like alleles can restore function in a β-(1,3)galT null mutant, but neither native nor recombinant jhp0562 can. Mutagenesis of jhp0562 revealed that it is essential for synthesis of both type 1 and type 2 Le antigens. Transcriptional analyses of both loci showed β-(1,3)galT expression in all wild-type (WT) and mutant strains tested, whereas jhp0562 was not expressed in jhp0562 null mutants, as expected. Since jhp0562 unexpectedly displayed functions in both type 1 and type 2 Le synthesis, we asked whether galT, part of the type 2 synthesis pathway, had analogous functions in type 1 synthesis. Mutagenesis and complementation analysis confirmed that galT is essential for Leb production. In total, these results demonstrate that galT and jhp0562 have functions that cross the expected Le synthesis pathways and that jhp0562 provides a substrate for intragenomic recombination to generate diverse Le synthesis enzymes.
Interest in the role of the microbiome in human health has burgeoned over the past decade with the advent of new technologies for interrogating complex microbial communities. The large-scale dynamics of the microbiome can be described by many of the tools and observations used in the study of population ecology. Deciphering the metagenome and its aggregate genetic information also can be used to understand the functional properties of the microbial community. Both the microbiome and metagenome probably have important functions in health and disease; their exploration is a frontier in human genetics.
The mammalian gastric and oral mucosa may be colonized by mixed Helicobacter and Campylobacter species, respectively, in individual animals. To better characterize the presence and distribution of Helicobacter and Campylobacter among marine mammals, we used PCR and 16S rDNA sequence analysis to examine gastric and oral samples from ten dolphins (Tursiops gephyreus), one killer whale (Orcinus orca), one false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), and three wild La Plata river dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei). Helicobacter spp. DNA was widely distributed in gastric and oral samples from both captive and wild cetaceans. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated two Helicobacter sequence clusters, one closely related to H. cetorum, a species isolated from dolphins and whales in North America. The second related cluster was to sequences obtained from dolphins in Australia and to gastric non-Helicobacter pylori helicobacters, and may represent a novel taxonomic group. Dental plaque sequences from four dolphins formed a third cluster within the Campylobacter genus that likely represents a novel species isolated from marine mammals. Identification of identical Helicobacter spp. DNA sequences from dental plaque, saliva and gastric fluids from the same hosts, suggests that the oral cavity may be involved in transmission. These results demonstrate that Helicobacter and Campylobacter species are commonly distributed in marine mammals, and identify taxonomic clusters that may represent novel species.
Helicobacter; Campylobacter; marine mammals; cetaceans; gastritis