Alteration of lung and gut microbiota in IL-13-transgenic mice simulating chronic asthma

Kyoung Hee Sohn, Min Gyung Baek, Sung Mi Choi, Boram Bae, Ruth Yuldam Kim, Young Chan Kim, Hye Young Kim, Hana Yi, Hye Ryun Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing evidence suggests a potential role of microbial colonization in the inception of chronic airway diseases. However, it is not clear whether the lung and gut microbiome dysbiosis is coincidental or a result of mutual interaction. In this study, we investigated the airway microbiome in interleukin 13 (IL-13)-rich lung environment and related alterations of the gut microbiome. IL-13- overexpressing transgenic (TG) mice presented enhanced eosinophilic inflammatory responses and mucus production, together with airway hyperresponsiveness and subepithelial fibrosis. While bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and cecum samples obtained from 10-week-old IL-13 TG mice and their C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) littermates showed no significant differences in alpha diversity of lung and gut microbiome, they presented altered beta diversity in both lung and gut microbiota in the IL-13 TG mice compared to the WT mice. Lung-specific IL-13 overexpression also altered the composition of the gut as well as the lung microbiome. In particular, IL-13 TG mice showed an increased proportion of Proteobacteria and Cyanobacteria and a decreased amount of Bacteroidetes in the lungs, and depletion of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria in the gut. The patterns of polymicrobial interaction within the lung microbiota were different between WT and IL-13 TG mice. For instance, in IL-13 TG mice, lung Mesorhizobium significantly affected the alpha diversity of both lung and gut microbiomes. In summary, chronic asthma-like pathologic changes can alter the lung microbiota and affect the gut microbiome. These findings suggest that the lung-gut microbial axis might actually work in asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1819-1826
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of microbiology and biotechnology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 by The Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology.


  • Asthma
  • Gastrointestinal microbiome
  • Interleukin-13
  • Microbial interactions
  • Microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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