Akkermansia muciniphila Reduces Peritonitis and Improves Intestinal Tissue Wound Healing after a Colonic Transmural Defect by a MyD88-Dependent Mechanism

Cells. 2022 Aug 27;11(17):2666. doi: 10.3390/cells11172666.


Anastomotic leakage is a major complication following colorectal surgery leading to peritonitis, complications, and mortality. Akkermansia muciniphila has shown beneficial effects on the gut barrier function. Whether A. muciniphila reduces peritonitis and mortality during colonic leakage is unknown. Whether A. muciniphila can directly modulate the expression of genes in the colonic mucosa in humans has never been studied. We investigated the effects of a pretreatment (14 days) with live A. muciniphila prior to surgical colonic perforation on peritonitis, mortality, and wound healing. We used mice with an inducible intestinal-epithelial-cell-specific deletion of MyD88 (IEC-MyD88 KO) to investigate the role of the innate immune system in this context. In a proof-of-concept pilot study, healthy humans were exposed to A. muciniphila for 2 h and colonic biopsies taken before and after colonic instillation for transcriptomic analysis. Seven days after colonic perforation, A.-muciniphila-treated mice had significantly lower mortality and severity of peritonitis. This effect was associated with significant improvements of wound histological healing scores, higher production of IL22, but no changes in the mucus layer thickness or genes involved in cell renewal, proliferation, or differentiation. All these effects were abolished in IEC-MyD88 KO mice. Finally, human subjects exposed to A. muciniphila exhibited an increased level of the bacterium at the mucus level 2 h after instillation and significant changes in the expression of different genes involved in the regulation of cell cycling, gene transcription, immunity, and inflammation in their colonic mucosa. A. muciniphila improves wound healing during transmural colonic wall defect through mechanisms possibly involving IL22 signaling and requiring MyD88 in the intestinal cells. In healthy humans, colonic administration of A. muciniphila is well tolerated and changes the expression of genes involved in the immune pathways.

Keywords: Akkermansia muciniphila; Myd88; colonic leakage; peritonitis; wound healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Akkermansia*
  • Animals
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Colon / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88* / metabolism
  • Peritonitis* / metabolism
  • Peritonitis* / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Verrucomicrobia / metabolism
  • Wound Healing* / genetics
  • Wound Healing* / physiology


  • Myd88 protein, mouse
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88

Supplementary concepts

  • Akkermansia muciniphila

Grants and funding

This research was funded by FRS-FNRS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique), P.D.C. is a research director at FRS-FNRS and the recipient of grants from FNRS (Projet de Recherche PDR-convention: FNRS T.0030.21, CDR-convention: J.0027.22, FRFS-WELBIO: WELBIO-CR-2022A-02, WELBIO-CR-2019C-02R, EOS: program no. 30770923 and EOS program no. 40007505). W.M.D.V. was supported by the SIAM Gravitation Grant (024.002.002) of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.