Ozone-induced changes in the serum metabolome: Role of the microbiome.PLoS One 2019; 14(8):e0221633Plos
Ozone is an asthma trigger. In mice, the gut microbiome contributes to ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness, a defining feature of asthma, but the mechanistic basis for the role of the gut microbiome has not been established. Gut bacteria can affect the function of distal organs by generating metabolites that enter the blood and circulate systemically. We hypothesized that global metabolomic profiling of serum collected from ozone exposed mice could be used to identify metabolites contributing to the role of the microbiome in ozone-induced airway hyperresponsiveness. Mice were treated for two weeks with a cocktail of antibiotics (ampicillin, neomycin, metronidazole, and vancomycin) in the drinking water or with control water and then exposed to air or ozone (2 ppm for 3 hours). Twenty four hours later, blood was harvested and serum analyzed via liquid-chromatography or gas-chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Antibiotic treatment significantly affected 228 of the 562 biochemicals identified, including reductions in the known bacterially-derived metabolites, equol, indole propionate, 3-indoxyl sulfate, and 3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)propionate, confirming the efficacy of the antibiotic treatment. Ozone exposure caused significant changes in 334 metabolites. Importantly, ozone-induced changes in many of these metabolites were different in control and antibiotic-treated mice. For example, most medium and long chain fatty acids declined by 20-50% with ozone exposure in antibiotic-treated but not control mice. Most taurine-conjugated bile acids increased with ozone exposure in antibiotic-treated but not control mice. Ozone also caused marked (9-fold and 5-fold) increases in the polyamines, spermine and spermidine, respectively, in control but not antibiotic-treated mice. Each of these metabolites has the capacity to alter airway responsiveness and may account for the role of the microbiome in pulmonary responses to ozone.