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Evaluation of Human Microbiota-Associated (HMA) Porcine Models to Study the Human Gastrointestinal Microbiome

Nirosh D Aluthge, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Research conducted in the past couple of decades has showcased the importance of the gut microbiota in human health and well-being. While many studies have reported on the differences in community membership between a disease state and a healthy state, few have investigated the mechanisms through which an aberrant microbiota contributes to a disease phenotype. One of the primary reasons for this are the many technical and ethical barriers to conducting the necessary studies directly in human individuals. Human microbiota-associated (HMA) porcine models have the potential to become important research tools which can enable the testing of hypotheses regarding host-microbiota interactions in human health and disease without directly involving humans. However, relatively few microbiome studies have utilized porcine models in this capacity. Through multiple studies, we evaluated HMA porcine models in terms of their suitability for use in gut microbiota studies. Results demonstrated that (1) compared to an HMA C3H/HeN mouse model, a higher percentage of donor taxa from donors of different age groups were able to persistently colonize HMA piglets, (2) while a majority of donor taxa in infant donors were able to colonize HMA piglets, rare/low-abundance taxa found in the infant donors enriched once engrafted into the piglets, and (3) the potential for using HMA piglets for studying host-microbiota interactions related to obesity. We believe that further improvements to address some of the shortcoming and challenges associated with HMA piglets will facilitate more wide-spread use of this animal model in the field of gut microbiome research.

Subject Area

Microbiology|Bioinformatics|Animal sciences|Food Science

Recommended Citation

Aluthge, Nirosh D, "Evaluation of Human Microbiota-Associated (HMA) Porcine Models to Study the Human Gastrointestinal Microbiome" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29257768.