Heterochronic faecal transplantation boosts gut germinal centres in aged mice

Nat Commun. 2019 Jun 4;10(1):2443. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10430-7.


Ageing is a complex multifactorial process associated with a plethora of disorders, which contribute significantly to morbidity worldwide. One of the organs significantly affected by age is the gut. Age-dependent changes of the gut-associated microbiome have been linked to increased frailty and systemic inflammation. This change in microbial composition with age occurs in parallel with a decline in function of the gut immune system; however, it is not clear whether there is a causal link between the two. Here we report that the defective germinal centre reaction in Peyer's patches of aged mice can be rescued by faecal transfers from younger adults into aged mice and by immunisations with cholera toxin, without affecting germinal centre reactions in peripheral lymph nodes. This demonstrates that the poor germinal centre reaction in aged animals is not irreversible, and that it is possible to improve this response in older individuals by providing appropriate stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cholera Toxin / immunology
  • Dysbiosis / immunology*
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Germinal Center / immunology*
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Mice
  • Nitrophenols / immunology
  • Peyer's Patches / immunology*
  • Phenylacetates / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Nitrophenols
  • Phenylacetates
  • 4-hydroxy-5-nitrophenyl acetic acid
  • Cholera Toxin