Microbiota long-term dynamics and prediction of acute graft-versus-host disease in pediatric allogeneic stem cell transplantation

Anna Cäcilia Ingham, Katrine Kielsen, Hanne Mordhorst, Marianne Ifversen, Frank Møller Aarestrup, Klaus Gottlob Müller, Sünje Johanna Pamp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) exhibit changes in their gut microbiota and are experiencing a range of complications, including acute graft-versus-host disease (aGvHD). It is unknown if, when, and under which conditions a re-establishment of microbial and immunological homeostasis occurs. It is also unclear whether microbiota long-term dynamics occur at other body sites than the gut such as the mouth or nose. Moreover, it is not known whether the patients' microbiota prior to HSCT holds clues to whether the patient would suffer from severe complications subsequent to HSCT. Here, we take a holobiont perspective and performed an integrated host-microbiota analysis of the gut, oral, and nasal microbiota in 29 children undergoing allo-HSCT. The bacterial diversity decreased in the gut, nose, and mouth during the first month and reconstituted again 1-3 months after allo-HSCT. The microbial community composition traversed three phases over 1 year. Distinct taxa discriminated the microbiota temporally at all three body sides, including Enterococcus spp., Lactobacillus spp., and Blautia spp. in the gut. Of note, certain microbial taxa appeared already changed in the patients prior to allo-HSCT as compared with healthy children. Acute GvHD occurring after allo-HSCT could be predicted from the microbiota composition at all three body sites prior to HSCT. The reconstitution of CD4+ T cells, TH17, and B cells was associated with distinct taxa of the gut, oral, and nasal microbiota. This study reveals for the first time bacteria in the mouth and nose that may predict aGvHD. Monitoring of the microbiota at different body sites in HSCT patients and particularly through involvement of samples prior to transplantation may be of prognostic value and could assist in guiding personalized treatment strategies. The identification of distinct bacteria that have a potential to predict post-transplant aGvHD might provide opportunities for an improved preventive clinical management, including a modulation of microbiomes. The host-microbiota associations shared between several body sites might also support an implementation of more feasible oral and nasal swab sampling-based analyses. Altogether, the findings suggest that the microbiota and host factors together could provide actionable information to guiding precision medicine. Video Abstract.
Original languageEnglish
Article number148
Issue number1
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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