Background: Monocytes are an essential cellular component of the innate immune system that support the host's effectiveness to combat a range of infectious pathogens. Hemopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) results in transient monocyte depletion, but the factors that regulate recovery of monocyte populations are not fully understood. In this study, we investigated whether the composition of the gastrointestinal microbiota is associated with the recovery of monocyte homeostasis after HCT.
Methods: We performed a single-center, prospective, pilot study of 18 recipients of either autologous or allogeneic HCT. Serial blood and stool samples were collected from each patient during their HCT hospitalization. Analysis of the gut microbiota was done using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and flow cytometric analysis was used to characterize the phenotypic composition of monocyte populations.
Results: Dynamic fluctuations in monocyte reconstitution occurred after HCT, and large differences were observed in monocyte frequency among patients over time. Recovery of absolute monocyte counts and subsets showed significant variability across the heterogeneous transplant types and conditioning intensities; no relationship to the microbiota composition was observed in this small cohort.
Conclusion: In this pilot study, a relationship between the microbiota composition and monocyte homeostasis could not be firmly established. However, we identify multivariate associations between clinical factors and monocyte reconstitution post-HCT. Our findings encourage further longitudinal surveillance of the intestinal microbiome and its link to immune reconstitution.
Keywords: Immune reconstitution; bone marrow transplantation; microbiome; monocytes.
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