Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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Microbiota-derived short chain fatty acids modulate microglia and promote Aβ plaque deposition

Elife. 2021 Apr 13;10:e59826

Authors/Editors: Colombo A
Sadler RK
Llovera G
Singh V
Roth S
Heindl S
Sebastian Monasor L
Verhoeven A
Peters F
Parhizkar S
Kamp F
Gomez de Aguero M
MacPherson AJ
Winkler E
Herms J
Benakis C
Dichgans M
Steiner H
Giera M
Haass C
Tahirovic S
Liesz A
Publication Date: 2021
Type of Publication: Journal Article

Previous studies have identified a crucial role of the gut microbiome in modifying Alzheimer's disease (AD) progression. However, the mechanisms of microbiome-brain interaction in AD were so far unknown. Here, we identify microbiota-derived short chain fatty acids (SCFA) as microbial metabolites which promote Aβ deposition. Germ-free (GF) AD mice exhibit a substantially reduced Aβ plaque load and markedly reduced SCFA plasma concentrations; conversely, SCFA supplementation to GF AD mice increased the Aβ plaque load to levels of conventionally colonized (specific pathogen-free [SPF]) animals and SCFA supplementation to SPF mice even further exacerbated plaque load. This was accompanied by the pronounced alterations in microglial transcriptomic profile, including upregulation of ApoE. Despite increased microglial recruitment to Aβ plaques upon SCFA supplementation, microglia contained less intracellular Aβ. Taken together, our results demonstrate that microbiota-derived SCFA are critical mediators along the gut-brain axis which promote Aβ deposition likely via modulation of the microglial phenotype.

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