Depletion of dietary aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligands alters microbiota composition and function

Academic Article


  • The intestinal microbiota is critical for maintaining homeostasis. Dysbiosis, an imbalance in the microbial community, contributes to the susceptibility of several diseases. Many factors are known to influence gut microbial composition, including diet. We have previously shown that fecal immunoglobulin (Ig) A levels are decreased in mice fed a diet free of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) ligands. Here, we hypothesize this IgA decrease is secondary to diet-induced dysbiosis. We assigned mice to a conventional diet, an AhR ligand-free diet, or an AhR ligand-free diet supplemented with the dietary AhR ligand indole-3-carbinol (I3C). We observed a global alteration of fecal microbiota upon dietary AhR ligand deprivation. Compared to mice on the conventional diet, family Erysipelotrichaceae was enriched in the feces of mice on the AhR ligand-free diet but returned to normal levels upon dietary supplementation with I3C. Faecalibaculum rodentium, an Erysipelotrichaceae species, depleted its growth media of AhR ligands. Cultured fecal bacteria from mice on the AhR ligand-free diet, but not the other two diets, were able to alter IgA levels in vitro, as was F. rodentium alone. Our data point to the critical role of AhR dietary ligands in shaping the composition and proper functioning of gut microbiota.
  • Published In

  • Scientific Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Brawner KM; Yeramilli VA; Duck LW; Van Der Pol W; Smythies LE; Morrow CD; Elson CO; Martin CA
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 1