Microbiome-encoded bile acid metabolism modulates colonic transit times

iScience. 2021 May 5;24(6):102508. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102508. eCollection 2021 Jun 25.


Gut motility is regulated by the microbiome via mechanisms that include bile acid metabolism. To localize the effects of microbiome-generated bile acids, we colonized gnotobiotic mice with different synthetic gut bacterial communities that were metabolically phenotyped using a functional in vitro screen. Using two different marker-based assays of gut transit, we inferred that bile acids exert effects on colonic transit. We validated this using an intra-colonic bile acid infusion assay and determined that these effects were dependent upon signaling via the bile acid receptor, TGR5. The intra-colonic bile acid infusion experiments further revealed sex-biased bile acid-specific effects on colonic transit, with lithocholic acid having the largest pro-motility effect. Transcriptional responses of the enteric nervous system (ENS) were stereotypic, regional, and observed in response to different microbiota, their associated bile acid profiles, and even to a single diet ingredient, evidencing exquisite sensitivity of the ENS to environmental perturbations.

Keywords: Gastroenterology; Microbiology; Microbiome.