A Lipopolysaccharide-Enriched Cow's Milk Allergy Microbiome Promotes a TLR4-Dependent Proinflammatory Intestinal Immune Response

J Immunol. 2024 Feb 15;212(4):702-714. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2300518.


We have previously reported that the gut microbiota of healthy infants harbors allergy-protective bacteria taxa that are depleted in infants with cow's milk allergy (CMA). Few reports have investigated the role of the gut microbiota in promoting allergic responses. In this study we selected a CMA-associated microbiota with increased abundance of Gram-negative bacteria for analysis of its proinflammatory potential. LPS is the major component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Colonization of mice with a global or conditional mutation of the LPS receptor TLR4 with this CMA microbiota induced expression of serum amyloid A1 (Saa1) and other Th17-, B cell-, and Th2-associated genes in the ileal epithelium in a TLR4-dependent manner. In agreement with the gene expression data, mice colonized with the CMA microbiota have expanded populations of Th17 and regulatory T cells and elevated concentrations of fecal IgA. Importantly, we used both antibiotic-treated specific pathogen-free and germ-free rederived mice with a conditional mutation of TLR4 in the CD11c+ compartment to demonstrate that the induction of proinflammatory genes, fecal IgA, and Th17 cells is dependent on TLR4 signaling. Furthermore, metagenomic sequencing revealed that the CMA microbiota has an increased abundance of LPS biosynthesis genes. Taken together, our results show that a microbiota displaying a higher abundance of LPS genes is associated with TLR4-dependent proinflammatory gene expression and a mixed type 2/type 3 response in mice, which may be characteristic of a subset of infants with CMA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Infant
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Mice
  • Milk Hypersensitivity* / complications
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • TLR4 protein, human