Background: Cathelicidins are a class of antimicrobial peptide, and the murine cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide (mCRAMP) has been demonstrated in vitro to impair Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium proliferation. However, the impact of mCRAMP on host responses and the microbiota following S. Typhimurium infection has not been determined. In this study mCRAMP-/- and mCRAMP+/+ mice (± streptomycin) were orally inoculated with S. enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 (SA +), and impacts on the host and enteric bacterial communities were temporally evaluated.
Results: Higher densities of the pathogen were observed in cecal digesta and associated with mucosa in SA+/mCRAMP-/- mice that were pretreated (ST+) and not pretreated (ST-) with streptomycin at 24 h post-inoculation (hpi). Both SA+/ST+/mCRAMP-/- and SA+/ST-/mCRAMP-/- mice were more susceptible to infection exhibiting greater histopathologic changes (e.g. epithelial injury, leukocyte infiltration, goblet cell loss) at 48 hpi. Correspondingly, immune responses in SA+/ST+/mCRAMP-/- and SA+/ST-/mCRAMP-/- mice were affected (e.g. Ifnγ, Kc, Inos, Il1β, RegIIIγ). Systemic dissemination of the pathogen was characterized by metabolomics, and the liver metabolome was affected to a greater degree in SA+/ST+/mCRAMP-/- and SA+/ST-/mCRAMP-/- mice (e.g. taurine, cadaverine). Treatment-specific changes to the structure of the enteric microbiota were associated with infection and mCRAMP deficiency, with a higher abundance of Enterobacteriaceae and Veillonellaceae observed in infected null mice. The microbiota of mice that were administered the antibiotic and infected with Salmonella was dominated by Proteobacteria.
Conclusion: The study findings showed that the absence of mCRAMP modulated both host responses and the enteric microbiota enhancing local and systemic infection by Salmonella Typhimurium.
Keywords: Cathelicidin; Colonization resistance; Mice; Microbiota; Salmonella enterica Typhimurium; mCRAMP.