Fecal microbiota from children with vitamin A deficiency impair colonic barrier function in germ-free mice: The possible role of alterative bile acid metabolites

Nutrition. 2021 Oct:90:111274. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2021.111274. Epub 2021 Apr 20.


Objective: This study explores the effects of fecal microbiota from children with vitamin A (VA) deficiency on colonic mucosal barrier function.

Methods: The composition of gut microbes was identified in children with different VA levels, then feces from children with normal VA or VA deficiency was collected separately and transplanted into germ-free (GF) mice, respectively. Three weeks after transplantation, the colon morphology, colonic tight junction proteins, gut microbes, and metabolites were evaluated.

Results: In children, Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides were positively correlated with VA levels. Colonization of VA deficiency fecal microbiota markedly impaired colonic development in GF mice, down-regulated colonic tight junction-related proteins occludin and claudin-1, and reduced immunoglobulin A secretion. Furthermore, fecal microbiota transplantation with different VA levels altered composition of gut microbes and bile acid metabolism pathways in GF mice.

Conclusion: These data suggest that fecal microbiota from children with VA deficiency attenuates colonic barrier function in GF mice, which may be achieved by changing the bile acid metabolic pathways.

Keywords: Bile acid metabolism; Colonic barrier function; Fecal microbiota transplantation; Gut mucosal microbiota; Vitamin A.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Colon
  • Feces
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Mice
  • Vitamin A Deficiency*


  • Bile Acids and Salts